Local cardiologist recommends public to become familiar with CPR and AED

KOOTENAI COUNTY, ID — Buffalo Bills football player Damar Hamlin remains in critical condition. He collapsed in the middle of the Bills-Bengals game Monday night after getting hit in the chest during a tackle.

The NFL says the Bills-Bengals game will not resume this week, or until further notice.

Kootenai Health’s cardiologist, Dr. Michele Murphy Cook says she commonly sees commotio cordis in athletes who play contact sports. It affects heart rhythm when you get hit hard in the chest. A hard-enough blow can stop the heart completely.

Dr. Murphy Cook says parents should be more aware of what playing contact sports like football and lacrosse can do to young athletes.

“This event really sheds light on what we are doing with high school athletes or even student-athlete programs as far as screening protocols,” said Dr. Murphy Cook. “Just be more aware of those very subtle generic or even unknown cardiac conditions that kids could have and just don’t know about.”

Thanks to the immediate medical care on the football field, Damar Hamlin’s heartbeat was restored.

“The unfortunate statistics with sudden cardiac death just in general, separate to that of athletes and this particular situation, is only 10 percent,” said Dr. Murphy Cook.

It emphasizes that being more familiar with CPR is important in any situation.

The cardiologist says it is crucial for parents to start monitoring the availability of AED in schools.

“For kids that are on club team sports, you don’t have immediate availability for AEDs. Having at least an awareness of understanding of what CPR is, what to do, what the next step should be is important,” said Dr. Murphy Cook.

READ: Update: Family of Bills’ Damar Hamlin releases statement, expresses gratitude for outpouring of support