OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — A Kansas City area doctor and training officer are weighing in on the importance of CPR following the scary situation involving Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin.
CPR is credited with restarting Hamlin’s heart even before he made it to a nearby trauma center.
After what happened to Hamlin at the Bills-Bengals game Monday night, CPR training is top of mind for people across the country.
Experts say it truly saves lives.
“Like everyone, it’s one of shock and horror, when you see someone collapse like that on the field,” Dr. Anthony Magalski said.
He’s the medical director of the Athletic Heart Clinic at the St. Luke’s Heart Institute.
The Bills said Hamlin suffered cardiac arrest following a hit and emergency crews restored his heartbeat on the field.
“Very rarely in adults, if you take a hit to the chest in just the exact, correct location, at just the exact time of the cardiac cycle, meaning the heartbeat, you can trigger this ventricular arrhythmia,” Magalski said.
Magalski does not want to speculate on Hamlin’s case, but said the NFL should be applauded for their preparedness in responding.
“That event, that’s where knowing CPR, knowing how to use and AED may have saved a life,” Magalski said.
Act fast and press hard in the center of the chest. An easy way to remember this steady rhythm is the song “Stayin’ Alive” by the Bee Gees.
Andrew Bobka is a training officer with the Overland Park Fire Department. He teaches CPR to firefighters, high school students and the public.
“They don’t have a pulse and they’re not breathing,” Bobka said. “So, the most important thing to do is, number one – grab a phone, or tell someone to call 911.”
He said minutes matter. Immediately start chest compressions.
“If a patients’ ribs unfortunately break, that’s not such an issue for them,” Bobka said. “Generally, we’re more concerned that the heart is pumping and allowing that blood to circulate.”
With hands only CPR, there’s no need to pause and deliver breaths. Bobka said to just keep pushing and don’t stop until first responders arrive.
“Within a couple minute a patient can essentially have a lack of oxygen to the brain,” Bobka said. “So, it’s vital for us as bystanders, responders and medical personal to continuously provide compressions to a patient to allow that oxygen to move throughout the patient.”
Many local hospitals, the Red Cross and fire stations offer CPR training.