For anyone who missed the events during the Bengals-Bills game on Jan. 2 in Cincinnati, let me give you a brief rundown.

Bills safety Damar Hamlin took a hit from Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins during the first quarter of the game. Following the hit, Hamlin stood up to walk away before collapsing on the field.

The events that followed can only accurately be described as traumatic. At the moment nobody knew why or what happened. We now know he suffered cardiac arrest. Hamlin was given CPR for 10 minutes on the field before being transported by ambulance to the hospital.

Thousands of people who planned to spend their time enjoying a classic football game had to bear witness to emergent, life-saving measures.

In the medical profession, we call this a “code blue”. When a code blue is called, any and every available individual immediately rushes to the location of the code. It’s all hands on deck for intense, organized chaos. They are putting all of their efforts into attempting to restore blood circulation, and ultimately that patient’s life, with intense chest compression and rescue breaths if necessary. 

Many facilities require debriefing following traumatic events, such as running a code. Debriefing allows all members of the care team involved to come together, discuss the events, reflect on areas of possible improvement, and process all the emotions involved.

As members of the healthcare team, we are trained to handle such situations. The fans in that stadium were not. While they weren’t directly involved, just witnessing what happened to Hamlin is traumatic.

Following the events, both teams were initially given five minutes to regroup in the locker room before resuming the game.

Five minutes. After witnessing their own teammate or opponent receiving life-saving resuscitation, they were given five minutes to go back to the scene and go back to playing as if nothing happened.

The coaches spoke up, and after thinking about it for way too long, the NFL finally decided to postpone – and ultimately cancel – the game.

Unfortunately, it’s events like this that open our eyes to how fragile life is. This could have happened to anyone at any given moment. This is why I feel it’s so important for everyone who is mentally and physically able to get trained in CPR.

We never know when something like this is going to happen to somebody, and you could be the difference between life and death for someone. You don’t need a special certification or formal training to be able to perform CPR.

There are training programs available if you’re interested in getting certified, otherwise just take the time to educate yourself. The American Heart Association is an excellent resource to find formal training courses and also provides instruction on how to perform CPR without taking a course.

During an NFL game, there are a number of trained individuals readily available when someone needs medical attention. If you’re taking a walk through your neighborhood and see someone collapse in their front yard, you could be the only one available to give that person a chance at survival.

Laci Sutton is a Nickerson senior studying nursing.

Views: 79

Share this story: