SPARTANBURG, S.C. (WSPA) – The sight of Buffalo Bills player Damar Hamlin suffering cardiac arrest on a field in Cincinnati on January 2 looked too familiar to Will Christman.

The Wofford College Director of Sports Medicine had to help a football player survive a similar situation six years ago. In both cases, an athletic trainer was absolutely a first responder.

“We’re first responders for all our athletes. We’re here when their injury happens,” Christman said. “We’re right there on top of it. We’re the first ones to see them.”

Christman was on the Wofford sidelines for the 2016 season-opening football game at Tennessee Tech.

Michael Roach, a linebacker for the Terriers, came off the field following a 13-play drive to start the second half.

Roach said he fell on his face and within moments, the medical team went to work.

“I fell right next to an AED (automated external defibrillator) actually,” according to Roach. “Will Christman, our head trainer, flew over to me and cut my jersey and my pads off. They applied the AED and one of the doctors was performing CPR. Christman put an AED on me, shocked me, performed CPR on me after that.”

Christman said they lost Roach’s pulse, but it was back in 45 seconds.

Roach was unaware of a heart condition he had called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.

HCM is a disease that can create functional impairment of the cardiac muscle.

“90-95% of the people who have this condition, if they go into cardiac arrest, they don’t survive,” said Christman.

Roach was surrounded by medical staff and trainers when it happened. He told 7NEWS, “without them, I don’t think we’d be here, talking to one another.”

Roach was forced to immediately retire from football. He has a cardioverter defibrillator implanted in his chest.

Roach said he still exercises and lifts weights but avoids extreme workouts. He currently lives in Spartanburg and works for Gibbs International.

The Roach situation did lead to one change at Wofford College Athletics. Each student-athlete has a heart check before the start of practice each season.

“In our physicals, in our pre-physicals, we do EKGs,” according to Christman. “We weren’t able to get them at the time, but we were able to go through Spartanburg Regional Foundation and got a Cardea 20/20 ECG machine. So now, every student-athlete has an ECG done prior to them participating.”

Wofford College also has personnel at all athletics events depending on the sport.

A typical men’s home basketball game will have the team doctor, an athletic trainer, EMS and a first aid room.

We’re told there are six or seven AEDs available at Jerry Richardson Indoor Stadium.