GREENVILLE COUNTY, S.C. (WSPA) – Upstate doctors are weighing in on the possible condition that caused NFL players to collapse during a game Monday night.
The Buffalo Bills said 24-year-old Damar Hamlin went into cardiac arrest during a game against the Cincinnati Bengals.
“What we witnessed was a very devastating thing, it was very scary,” said Dr. Jeffrey Senfield, a cardiologist with Bon Secours Mercy Health System.
During the first quarter of the game, Hamlin made a tackle, got up, and then, collapsed.
“These are a reminder every day of just how severe sports are and how violent collisions can be and how dangerous it can be,” said Dr. David S. Brancati, with Emergency MD.
Dr. Brancati believes Hamlin likely suffered a condition called commotio cordis.
“In commotio cordis, there’s a direct blow to the heart at the wrong time and what it can do is cause the heart to go into a really bad arrhythmia,” said Brancati.
Shortly after the incident, medical professionals stepped in to help. The Buffalo Bills said Hamlin’s heartbeat was restored and he left in an ambulance.
“They provided high quality, early CPR, which is what you needed to do to save his life and they likely defibrillated him on the field as well,” said Senfield.
Doctors said this exact type of incident is rare, but cardiac arrest can be common.
“Every minute that goes by that you don’t provide CPR to a patient undergoing cardiac arrest, there’s a 10 percent increased chance of death,” said Senfield.
They encourage people to sign up, take a class, and get CPR certified. People can find classes in their area online.
“In those emergency situations, it’s so important to continuously be prepared, be educated, and then hopefully be able to save the life of someone you may love,” said Mattie Lee, the communications and marketing director with the American Heart Association in the Upstate.
They said it’s easy to learn and can have a big impact.
“I think it’s incredibly important, the more people that understand and know CPR, the higher chance we can save a life if this were to happen to somebody,” said Senfield.
Brancati said this incident could also spark discussions about protective gear and equipment.
“It’s rare to see this in football because football players are wearing really good protective equipment over their chest. A lot of times we see this type of thing occur in baseball,” said Brancati.
He encourages athletes to always wear the proper equipment, which he said could prevent injuries.
The Bills said Hamlin was brought to UC Medical Center in Cincinnati for further testing and treatment. On Tuesday afternoon, they said Hamlin was in the intensive care unit and remains in critical condition.