This article originally appeared on nbc12.com
Damar Hamlin’s on-field collapse after experiencing cardiac arrest during Monday night’s game is shedding light on the importance of CPR and AED training.
Cardiac arrest is when the heart stops beating properly, and it can happen to almost anyone, even young adults like 24-year-old Damar Hamlin.
The Richmond Ambulance Authority says you don’t have to be a medical professional to help save a life. Basic CPR is easy, and anyone can learn how to do it.
What caused Hamlin’s emergency is still being determined, but multiple health experts say one possibility is a rare phenomenon called Commotio Cordis.
“You think about the chest wall and the projectile or the blow coming to the heart at that exact time when the heart is beating in a very particular way,” said Dr. Sanjay Gupta who is a neurosurgeon at Grady Memorial Hospital.
Whatever the cause, the Richmond Ambulance Authority says you shouldn’t be afraid to help someone who may have gone into cardiac arrest because every minute counts, and you could save a life.
If you think someone has gone into cardiac arrest, you should first call 911, then perform CPR by delivering chest compressions. The best case scenario is pairing that with the use of a machine called an AED, which stands for automated external defibrillator. It delivers a shock to the person’s body.
“As far as for the AEDs that are out in the public at your grocery stores, at your schools, at your public buildings, they give step-by-step instruction,” said Chad Greedan with the Richmond Ambulance Authority.
When delivering those CPR compressions, RAA says to make sure your arms are locked straight, and your shoulders are over the top of your hands you want to press down hard and fast to try to revive the heartbeat.
“The more we keep the blood circulating the more we get oxygenated blood to the brain and vital organs, greatly increasing the chance of survival,” Greedan explained.