CPR instructor: Quick action saved Damar Hamlin’s life

Published: Jan. 3, 2023 at 7:31 PM CST
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KCTV) - The sports world is still in shock tonight after Buffalo Bills player Damar Hamlin collapsed mid-game last night. It happened after he took a big hit in the chest area while making a tackle.

“I’m 44 years old and it’s the first time I’ve ever seen it,” said Gregory Wyatt, a CPR instructor and trainer.

Wyatt has been a CPR instructor for nearly 20 years and trains faculty for the American Heart Association. He said what he saw during the Monday Night Football game could have been deadly.

“Instead of putting him in the ambulance, they returned him to the ground to immediately start CPR,” he added. “That is literally the last intervention step between them and death.”

Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin remains in critical condition. Doctors said he suffered cardiac arrest. According to team officials, his heartbeat was restored on the field, before he was taken to a Cincinnati hospital.

The sole purpose of CPR is to keep oxygen flowing to the brain to prevent brain damage and brain death. Wyatt said the leading cause of death for anyone 24 and older is cardiac event or cardiac disease.

“We can debate the safety of football, but fatal incidents or potentially fatal incidents are extremely rare in the sport,” Wyatt said. “That’s something that happens in the stands, not something that happens on the field.”

The NFL said the game between the Bills and the Bengals will not resume this week an that no decision has been made about playing it at a later date.

Also on KCTV5.com: Owner of Bills backer bar in KC metro fights back tears recalling moment of Hamlin’s injury