RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — With the Buffalo Bills back on the field on Sunday, sports fans across the world were thinking of Damar Hamlin and his recovery after suffering a cardiac injury less than a week ago.
Some parents across the Triangle are now wondering how to keep their own young athletes safe. One local cardiologist says the answer is CPR.
“It doesn’t get more dangerous than this because this is death on the field,” said Dr. Christopher Kelly, the chairman of cardiology at UNC Rex Hospital.
Since Hamlin’s injury, conversations around sports safety have ramped up.
“It’s something that all contact sports, and really all sports, should be ready to handle because even though it’s rare, it does happen,” Dr. Kelly said.
Dr. Kelly says what happened to Hamlin on the field can happen to anyone, no matter how healthy you are or what sport you’re playing.
“Track and field, basketball, those are not contact sports, but people can die suddenly during those, too,” he said.
Thankfully, Hamlin was given CPR within seconds, something doctors say saved his life. Dr. Kelly says if this had happened on a middle school or high school field, though, that may not have been the case.
“Thankfully at the professional level, they’re ready for anything, but if this had happened on a college field or certainly on a high school field, it could’ve ended disastrously,” Dr. Kelly said.
He says that’s because at middle or high school sporting events, fewer people are trained to perform CPR and there’s sometimes not even a defibrillator nearby.
Kelly said while the situation was scary, it should serve as a reminder to protect all athletes no matter what age.
“Making sure that the children are wearing appropriate headgear, helmets, is essential, it depends on the sport,” Dr. Kelly said.
But for parents, Dr. Kelly says this shouldn’t serve as a reason to remove children from sports, but rather as a reminder to make sure we’re all prepared to help someone else in a similar situation.
“The bottom line from this experience is that people need to know CPR, there’s really no excuse,” he said.
If you’re interested in free CPR training, visit Heart.org for more information.