As the world waits in hopeful anticipation that Damar Hamlin of the Buffalo Bills will recover completely from his sudden cardiac arrest during Monday Night Football, we at the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation pray for Damar, his family, and all those involved in his care.
We also recognize that this traumatic event may be a teachable moment. Now, more people understand not only what sudden cardiac arrest looks like (yes, the person collapses unexpectedly), but also that immediate CPR and treatment with an AED (automated external defibrillator) can mean the difference between life and death (yes, the person can be brought back to life if helped quickly).
We hope this pivotal event will inspire laypersons everywhere to learn CPR and how to use an AED (what a great New Year’s resolution!). With greater public awareness, education, and action, we will be able to save so many more lives.
In addition, we recognize the seismic shift that seems to be taking place in the media. Finally, reporters have begun to refer to this life-threatening situation as "cardiac arrest"—rather than “heart attack.” We and so many others have been trying for years to educate the media on the difference. While heart attacks can lead to cardiac arrest, there are also many other causes, including blunt force trauma to the chest.
Sudden cardiac arrest strikes 1,000 people every day in the U.S. and only 10 percent survive. This one teachable moment could herald a new day when survival from cardiac arrest becomes the rule, rather than the exception.
-Mary M. Newman, MS, President & CEO, Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation