Avera Medical Minute: Football player’s on-field emergency shines a light on the importance of AED’s and CPR

Published: Jan. 9, 2023 at 9:24 PM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - A moment in a Monday Night Football game in early January captured the attention of the nation when 24-year-old Buffalo Bills Safety Damar Hamlin suffered cardiac arrest on the field. Within seconds, medical personnel was there to administer first aid.

Their fast action is credited for playing a role in saving Hamlin’s life.

His health scare is now shining a light on the importance of medical readiness.

“Seeing something like that happen on Monday Night Football where there’s probably millions of viewers around, shows the importance of early response to something like this,” said Avera electrophysiologist Dr. Jonathon Adams. “I would emphasize to the public that being trained in basic life support and learning how to apply or just the importance of an AED doesn’t take a lot of skill.”

AEDs, or Automated External Defibrillators, are becoming more commonplace. You’ll likely see them in workplaces, at libraries, sporting arenas, and churches.

The portable devices can do a lot to help save a life with a shock that effectively resets the heart back to a normal rhythm.

American Heart Association statistics show that each year, more than 365,000 people in the U.S. have sudden cardiac arrests in non-hospital settings.

Their survival depends on quick CPR and shocking the heart back into a normal rhythm.

Health officials say learning how to perform these life-saving techniques can be easy.

“Take your hand, I take my dominant hand and I’m right-handed, so I put that in the center of the sternum, interlock my hands,” said Avera Heart Hospital Education Coordinator Kym Osterberg. “Push hard, push fast, in the center of the chest and always make sure you allow full recoil, so the heart can fill back up again and push blood to the brain.”

Quick action when someone is suffering a cardiac event can play a role in saving their life.

“Even if you’re not trained in basic life support, if you see someone that’s not responsive, calling for help and getting that to that person as soon as possible can be a lifesaver,” said Dr. Adams.

More information on life support training and heart health can be found at www.Avera.org/MedicalMinute