NFL incident leads to local questions
If it can happen in a National Football League game, it now can happen anywhere.
One of the many facts which came out of last week’s on-field medical emergency involving Damar Hamlin, where he collapsed on field after a hit. The situation became life-threatening when the Buffalo Bills safety had to have CPR and resuscitation on the field during the Jan. 2 game against the Cincinnati Bengals. For the millions of fans who were watching the game, it was the first time they’ve seen that happen in a football game.
It is not known what caused Hamlin’s heart to stop. According to published reports, cardiac experts said the blow to his chest while making a tackle may have sent his heart into an arrhythmia. That injury is unusual: The chest must be struck in a moment – about 20 milliseconds – while the heart is relaxing.
While he was released from the hospital Monday, his condition and future remains up in the air.
Many questions were asked as a result, with one of them being, how would high schools handle a situation like that? Football coaches and athletic directors in the Sentinel publication area were asked the above question. Here are some of their responses:
“We would like to have an ambulance crew at all our football games. However, that is not always possible as they may be out on an emergency and may have to leave during a game for the same reason,” athletic director Scott Hoefs said. “Many years ago, the St. Croix Regional Medical Center supplied many of the schools with an athletic trainer. However, I believe they dropped that program, so we have tried for many years to secure an athletic trainer. That being said, we have had a couple people help us out over the years but nothing permanent. For many schools in this area, we are so far from those colleges that have athletic training programs or hospitals that offer that with their services for them to be willing to travel to Webster.”
Webster does have access to a defibrillator in the school, and Hoefs also noted that the WIAA has mandated all paid coaches to be trained in CPR, AED and First Aid.
Pirate head football coach Adam Hale also assured that the district is prepared for such a medical emergency, if it arises:
“Every situation is different, but we stress to always have a trainer at athletic events and an AED is on site. Our paid coaches are all CPR certified and for varsity football, an ambulance is present as well,” Coach Hale stated. “We've been fortunate to have a qualified trainer to help with injuries and more severe situations in the past and have a yearly preseason coaches meeting to go over emergency response as well.”