MEDIA ALERT: (WATCH) Damar Hamlin shares more with the American Heart Association's CEO about his journey back to football
(NewMediaWire) - April 22, 2023 - DALLAS — After months of medical evaluations followed by the announcement of his return to professional football, NFL Buffalo Bills player Damar Hamlin recently sat down for an on-camera interview with the American Heart Association’s Chief Executive Officer Nancy Brown. “It’s been a rollercoaster of emotions, and I’m trying to just focus on the right foot in front of the left… trying not to control too much… Physically, I’m getting stronger,” he said, as he prepares to return to the playing field.
Damar Hamlin’s sudden collapse during a live Monday Night Football game on January 2nd made worldwide headlines. Earlier this week, he revealed that medical experts have concluded he collapsed due to an episode of commotio cordis, a rare and complex type of cardiac arrest that is the result of blunt force trauma to the chest at exactly the wrong time in the heartbeat. With prompt CPR and defibrillation, the survival and recovery rates after a commotio cordis episode are greater than 50%, so it should not prevent him from renewing his professional athletic career.
Hamlin’s interview as a guest on “At the Heart of It” with Nancy Brown is his first since he shared his diagnosis and announcing his return to play in the NFL and only his second one-on-one interview since the events of January 2nd. “At the Heart of It” with Nancy Brown is part of the American Heart Association’s lineup of original programming available online from AHA Studios. The full episode will premier Wednesday, May 3rd on the American Heart Association’s YouTube channel.
Cardiac arrest may have several causes. It was announced on April 18th that Damar Hamlin’s collapse was due to an episode of commotio cordis (kə-ˈmō-shē-ō-ˈkȯrd-əs) - Latin for “agitation of the heart.” Commotio cordis is a type of cardiac arrest that is an extremely rare consequence of blunt force trauma to the heart that happens at exactly the wrong time in the heart rhythm, causing the heart to stop beating effectively. Collapse occurs within a few seconds. The impact occurs over the left chest wall, and it is generally sustained with a hard spherical object, such as a baseball, hockey puck, lacrosse ball or softball. There are no risk factors for commotio cordis. It is an extremely rare event that may affect anyone playing a physical contact sport. Quick recognition of the cardiac emergency and immediately beginning the 3 most important steps in the chain of survival are critical to survival: 1) call 911, 2) begin CPR and 3) defibrillate with an automated external defibrillator or AED. These are the only ways to save someone’s life after commotio cordis or sudden cardiac arrest.
- VIDEO: downloadable video clips of Damar Hamlin’s interview with AHA CEO Nancy Brown; Dr. Gordon Tomaselli explaining commotio cordis and Dr. Comilla Sasson on potential causes of sudden cardiac arrest as well as infographics on commotio cordis, bystander CPR and the Chain of Survival are available on the right column of the release link.
- AHA news release: Commotio cordis is extremely rare; quick action essential: call 911, begin CPR and use AED
- AHA health information: What is commotio cordis?
- AHA News story: What is commotio cordis, which NFL player Damar Hamlin says stopped his heart?
- AHA news release: New coalition aims to make the resources available for schools to implement tailored emergency response plans that include training in CPR and AEDs (March 2023)
- AHA scientific statement: Understanding the Importance of the Lay Responder Experience in Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest (March 2022)
- Follow AHA/ASA news on Twitter @HeartNews
The American Heart Association is a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives. We are dedicated to ensuring equitable health in all communities. Through collaboration with numerous organizations, and powered by millions of volunteers, we fund innovative research, advocate for the public’s health and share lifesaving resources. The Dallas-based organization has been a leading source of health information for nearly a century. Connect with us on heart.org, Facebook, Twitter or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1.
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