Damar Hamlin’s sudden medical emergency raises questions for local sports

By Grace Krane

Football players and fans watched in horror while first responders rushed to the field as the 23-year-old Bills safety went into cardiac arrest on the field for nine minutes January 2. 

Hamlin remained alone for only moments while medical personnel rushed to the field to assess his condition. After spending more than a week at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, Hamlin was released with no neurological damage according to CNN

While in cardiac arrest, the heart stops pumping blood and oxygen, and within seconds the brain becomes unconscious. As stated by Mayo Clinic, within minutes of the heart stopping, the lack of blood can cause death or permanent brain damage. It is an apparent miracle that Hamlin suffered no neurological damage, as he was in cardiac arrest for several minutes. 

“I was confused and worried about everyone surrounding Hamlin,” Nikhil Mall said, a NFL fan and student at Bellbrook High School studying biomedical sciences. “From what we’ve learned in the PLTW science classes, it is almost impossible for him to have no brain damage after being without oxygen for so long.”

The Buffalo News conducted an interview with the NFL’s chief medical officer. “It’s certainly not an exaggeration to say that the skilled and the immediate response by all of these talented caregivers prevented a very tragic outcome at that moment,” Dr. Allen Stills said.  

According to CNN, the Bills team trainers and physicians were treating Hamlin within 10 seconds of his collapse, while the ambulance was on the field in less than five minutes. The accelerated response of the medical staff who administered CPR and initiated the use of an AED at the time of Hamlin’s medical emergency may have saved his life. 

Athletic competitions at Bellbrook High School are required to have a trainer on the premises. Mandy Woll, the athletic trainer at Bellbrook High school, appreciates the need for fast injury response times. She has expressed her availability to answer any questions Bellbrook athletes may have following Hamlin’s injury by posting a message on the Bellbrook Athletic’s social media pages.  

Bellbrook athletic trainer Mandy Woll  posted to social media about her availability to answer questions Bellbrook athletes may have regarding Hamlin’s recent injury.

“Safety wise, obviously injuries happen all of the time and they are more orthopedic than cardiac, so I see more of that on a daily basis,” Woll said.  “A lot of people have had questions about what happened, so I was mainly just addressing if anyone had any specific questions about any cardiac issue.”

Woll is dedicated to helping all Bellbrook students and athletes in any way she can. While the specific response protocols for Bellbrook sporting events have not changed, there has been recent reassurance about current Emergency Action Plans (EAP). 

“Nothing has really changed within the EAPs for sporting events,” Woll said. “We have just kind of reassured everything is where it needs to be.” 

An AED is available on the golf cart Woll uses on the field, and easily accessible outside the main gym. “Before each season starts, we go over the EAP with the coaches for which coach grabs the AED, and who will provide care until I get there if I’m not there already,” Woll said.  

Reassuring all athletes and students at Bellbrook, “We have it all planned if it were to happen, so to the athletes in particular, we got it pretty covered,” Woll said.



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