Boston College athletics speaks about rapid response to NFL player’s sudden cardiac arrest

BOSTON — When Damar Hamlin collapsed on the field, Monday night, millions witness the massive medical response on the field in the middle of the Bills versus Bengals game.

Your Local Station Boston 25 News wanted to know more about the protocols that are in place for such an event at all levels of athletics.

“Time is of the essence to get that heart pumping again and get the oxygen back,” says Dr. Comeau the director of health services and primary care sports medicine at Boston College. “The rapid response time worked to perfection in my life, just watching it from my couch.”

Dr. Comeau says all NFL teams and big athletics schools like Boston College have an emergency action plan to address a host of medical emergencies, which was shown on the field in Cincinnatti Monday night when Hamlin went into cardiac arrest. Both college and professional teams will meet with opposing trams to discuss their action plans before every game, Dr. Comeau says.

“And we discuss where the ambulance is parked, what the hand signal is if you need the ambulance to come out on the field, or which hospital we would go to,” according to Dr. Comeau.

Athletic trainers are essentially the first responders on the field says Mike Vigneau, Boston College’s football athletic trainer and director of sports medicine.

“Our football team doesn’t have a workout or even a walk-through that there’s not a certified athletic trainer, AED, oxygen there present,” according to Vigneau.

These local sports experts told Kavanaugh the most critical device at any sporting event is an AED, an automatic external defibrillator. Dr. Comeau and Vidneau said what happened to Hamlin can happen to many athletes at all levels, whether it’s a baseball or hockey puck to the chest it can result in Commotio Cordis or a sudden blow to the heart at a critical point in the cycle of a heartbeat.

“This injury, even though it’s very uncommon it’s one of the most common causes of sudden cardiac arrest in youth sports,” says Dr. Comeau.

These major teams have an army of doctors, trainers, and paramedics. Obviously, not all teams have those resources so that makes the AED all the more crucial.

“If you can get to that AED quickly then hopefully save a life,” according to Vidneau.

24-year-old Hamlin remains in critical condition Tuesday night and has the entire NFL and sports community rallying around him and his family for support.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.

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