AEDs aren’t required at all schools. Damar Hamlin wants to help change that


Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin said Wednesday that when he played football as a kid, he never thought about CPR or where an automated external defibrillator (AED) might be nearby.

At an event on Capitol Hill, the NFL player shared facts he learned after going into cardiac arrest and collapsing on the field during a game in January.

“More than 7,000 children under the age of 18 have sudden cardiac arrest every year in our country—7,000 children every year. Most of the children affected are student-athletes, and research shows that out of every 300 youth 1 have heart disease that puts them at risk. For schools with AEDs, the survival rate for children with sudden cardiac arrest is seven times higher,” Hamlin said.

Hamlin joined Reps. Sheila Cherfilas-McCormick, D-Fla., and Bill Posey, R-Fla., to highlight access to aed act, a bipartisan bill introduced in the US House this week. Cherfilas-McCormick said it would establish a grant program to provide funding to schools to purchase and maintain AEDs, strengthen CPR training and develop cardiac emergency response plans.

“Access to the AED Act will help ensure that schools are as prepared and trained to respond in times of crisis as they are during an NFL game,” Hamlin said.

Also at the event was Matthew Mangin Sr., who lost his 16-year-old son, Matthew Jr., in 2020.

Kishore, a football player at St. Henry District High School in Erlanger, Kentucky, collapsed from sudden cardiac arrest on the football field during practice.

“There were five AEDs on campus, yet no one retrieved an AED for Matthew to apply because of a lack of proper training. And because the coach was never given an emergency action plan nor told Where was the nearest AED – which was 250 feet away – by the time the ambulance arrived, it was too late. We lost our beautiful firstborn son,” Mangine said.

People often find out about heart conditions too late, Posey said, and this is one way to help reverse the effect.

“There are so many ways that young people can die, and there are very few ways that we can actually engage to prevent those deaths,” he said.

Hamlin did not discuss his future in football on Wednesday, but previously told “Good Morning America” ​​that he is doing “very well” physically but “still working” emotionally.

The cause of his cardiac arrest has not been determined, but Dr. Thom Meyer, medical director of the NFL Players Association, said last month that Hamlin “will play professional football again.”

Hamlin has also partnered with the American Heart Association in a campaign to increase CPR awareness and education.

“By training community members in CPR, making AEDs available in schools, and encouraging the development of emergency response plans, schools are better prepared to respond to sudden cardiac arrest and save lives,” Nancy Brown, the association’s CEO, said in a statement. Will be.” statement about the bill.

On Monday, the NFL launched the Smart Heart Sports Coalition, a joint effort with other professional sports leagues, the American Heart Association, and the American Red Cross to promote emergency action plans, accessible AEDs, and CPR and AED training for coaches in high schools. announced.

In a video at Wednesday’s event, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said the league is also proud to support the Access to AED Act.

Hamlin’s recovery “is an inspiration,” he said, and the law and the alliance “will save countless lives of young athletes in the future.”

“We are looking forward to the bill becoming a law at the earliest,” he said.

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