Former NFL Team Doctor Describes On-Field Medical Procedures Regarding Damar Hamlin: “The 9 Minutes Of CPR Undoubtedly Saved His Life”

Bills prayer
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Last night, we may have witnessed the most horrific scene to ever occur on live TV during an NFL game.

Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin was tackling Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins, and it appeared to be just a routine tackle until Hamlin collapsed on the field.

Medical staff made their way onto the field immediately, and performed CPR in addition to using an AED device and giving him oxygen. The on-field medical personnel were able to restart his heart and get him into an ambulance.

Players, teammates, coaches and fans were utterly shocked, with a number of Bills players in tears at the sight of their brother getting life-saving medical attention on the field.

A number of players immediately hit their knees to pray from Hamlin and his family.

The 24-year-old safety was quickly taken University of Cincinnati Hospital, and his family rode in the ambulance with him.

It was unknown at the time what his condition was, but judging by everybody’s faces, this wasn’t something we’ve seen on the football field before.

Bills head coach Sean McDermott and Bengals head coach Zac Taylor spoke with officials and suspended the game, and ultimately, the NFL postponed the game after the horrific events that had just unfolded.

With that being said, the Buffalo Bills shared their latest update on the status of Hamlin, sharing in a tweet:

“Damar Hamlin suffered a cardiac arrest following a hit in our game versus the Bengals. His heartbeat was restored on the field and he was transferred to the UC Medical Center for further testing and treatment.”

As we continue to await the word of Hamlin’s condition, we’re slowly starting to learn more about what may have happened last night, that ultimately resulted in cardiac arrest.

According to BroBible, Dr. David J. Chao, the former head physician for the Chargers, discussed the medical treatment Hamlin may have received on the field, as we couldn’t see exactly what was going on on TV.

In his expert opinion, Dr. Chao explained what generally goes on behind the scenes when there are medical emergencies on the football field, providing some context and perhaps reassurance for fans who are stunned at what they witnessed.

Chao says that football stadiums have an entire team of medical professionals and tons of equipment to treat any kind of injury that happens on the field:

“Other than in a hospital, there is no better place to collapse than on a NFL field. Over two dozen medical professionals including emergency medical personnel and equipment are present. The home team plays an important role in emergency care and support for the visiting team and that is the norm but the Bengals medical staff should still be congratulated. All home teams drill for this annually.

In addition, emergency medical personnel and medical staff from both teams meet pregame to go over any last minute information in preparation for anything that might happen.”

He also shared what possibly could’ve happened although cautions that he is an orthopedist, not a cardiac specialist:

“The nine minutes of CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) undoubtedly saved his life. The heart attack was likely caused by a cardiac contusion with potential commotio cordis (electrical signal gone haywire).

AED (automatic external defibrillators) are routinely on both NFL sidelines and even brought on the plane and bus with the traveling team. The defibrillation (shock) happened on the field to convert Hamlin’s rhythm to allow his heart to beat again.

Commotio cordis leading to heart attack has a significant mortality rate but with the witnessed arrest and immediate care, Hamlin seems headed for a positive outcome.”

He adds that the NFL teams have protocols in place, and work with hospitals ahead of time to have an emergency plan in place.

“A nearby trauma center is always designated and on stand by during NFL games. The ambulance was not slow moving to transport Hamlin. It is normal to stabilize before transport as it is unsafe to proceed with an unstable patient.

There were more medical personnel on field than could fit in the ambulance plus all the medications, oxygen and lifesaving supplies needed meaning there was no reason to move him to the hospital until it was safe.

The best early sign was that the ambulance reportedly waited for his mom to come along indicating some early stability for Hamlin. The intubation (breathing tube) is normal/common for any critical care patient in the ICU and doesn’t indicate a worse situation. A report of ‘normal’ vital signs are positive news.”

So, fingers crossed that Hamlin will be able to survive this, and make a full recovery.

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock