Hamlin wants this life-saving medical device required at all schools

Mar 30, 2023, 7:00 AM | Updated: Apr 5, 2023, 1:30 pm

Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin spoke on Capitol Hill on March 29 in support of the Access to AED...

UNITED STATES - MARCH 29: Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin is seen outside the U.S. Capitol before a news conference on the Access to AEDs Act, which aims improve access to defibrillators in schools, on Wednesday, March 29, 2023. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call via AP Images)

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call via AP Images)

(CNN) — Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin said Wednesday that when he played football as a child, he never thought about CPR or where there might be an automated external defibrillator (AED) nearby.

At an event on Capitol Hill, the NFL player shared facts he learned after he went into cardiac arrest and collapsed on the field during a game in January.

“Sudden cardiac arrest happens to more than 7,000 kids under the age of 18 every year in our country — 7,000 kids every year. The majority of the kids impacted are student-athletes, and research shows that 1 in every 300 youth has an undetected heart condition that puts them at risk. For schools that have AEDs, the survival rate for the children from sudden cardiac arrest is seven times higher,” Hamlin said.

Hamlin joined Reps. Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick, D-Fla., and Bill Posey, R-Fla., to highlight the Access to AEDs Act, a bipartisan bill introduced in the US House this week. It would establish a grant program to provide schools with the funds to purchase and maintain AEDs, strengthen CPR training and develop cardiac emergency response plans, Cherfilus-McCormick said.

“The Access to AEDs Act will help ensure that schools are just as prepared and trained to respond in the time of crisis as those on the sidelines of an NFL game,” Hamlin said.

Also at the event was Matthew Mangine Sr., who lost his 16-year-old son, Matthew Jr., in 2020.

The teen, a soccer player at St. Henry District High School in Erlanger, Kentucky, collapsed from sudden cardiac arrest on the soccer field during practice.

“There were five AEDs on campus, yet no one retrieved an AED to apply to Matthew due to a lack of proper training. And because the coach was never given an emergency action plan nor was told where the nearest AED was — which was 250 feet away — by the time the ambulance arrived, it was too late. We lost our beautiful firstborn son,” Mangine said.

People often find out about heart conditions too late, Posey said, and this is one way to help effect change.

“There’s a lot of ways that young people can die, and there’s very few ways that we can actually get engaged to prevent those deaths,” he said.

Hamlin did not discuss his future in football on Wednesday but previously told “Good Morning America” that he is “doing great” physically but “still working through things” emotionally.

The cause of his cardiac arrest has not been determined, but Dr. Thom Mayer, medical director of the NFL Players Association, said last month that Hamlin “will play professional football again.”

Hamlin has also partnered with the American Heart Association on a campaign to increase CPR awareness and education.

“Having community members trained in CPR, making AEDs available in schools and encouraging the development of emergency response plans will make schools better prepared to respond to sudden cardiac arrest and save lives,” association CEO Nancy Brown said in a statement about the bill.

On Monday, the NFL announced the Smart Heart Sports Coalition, a joint effort with other professional sports leagues, the American Heart Association and the American Red Cross to promote emergency action plans, accessible AEDs, and CPR and AED training for coaches at high schools.

In a video at Wednesday’s event, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said the league is also proud to support the Access to AEDs Act.

Hamlin’s recovery is “an inspiration,” he said, and the legislation and coalition “no doubt will save countless lives of young athletes in the future.”

“We look forward to getting this bill signed into law as soon as possible,” he added.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Today’s Top Stories

Education + Schools

A BYU psychologist tells Dave and Dujanovic that there are benefits to children being bored. Photo ...

Mark Jones

Are your children bored? Is it good or bad? An expert weighs in

A psychologist at BYU says there are some real benefits to children being bored.

23 hours ago

The book of mormon & bible banned in some Davis School District schools...

Aimee Cobabe

Following complaint against Bible in schools, Book of Mormon receives complaint for “sensitive content”

First it was the Bible and now Davis School District has a complaint against the Book of Mormon being on school bookshelves.

4 days ago

Utah Valley University started their Police Academy back in 1996 and this year, the school had more...

Aubri Wuthrich

UVU Police Academy has more women graduating than ever before

Female officers tend to use less force and are good at de-escalating situations and using communication techniques.

4 days ago

AI being used to detect guns...

Allessandra Harris

AI used to detect guns and keep schools safe during shooting situations

From writing essays to generating art, now AI is detecting guns and helping keep schools safe in shooting situations.

5 days ago

A legal analyst in Utah said that nobody intended a Utah law to be used to remove the Bible from sc...

Aimee Cobabe

Davis schools remove Bible from certain school shelves

A Davis district review of the Bible found it didn't meet the "sensitive materials" definition in Utah, and it was returned to high schools.

5 days ago

(Amanda Dickson/KSL NewsRadio)...

Amanda Dickson

Dickson: For the parents of the class of 2023 graduates

The parents of the class of 2023 graduates deserve some kudos — as do the graduates themselves.

5 days ago

Sponsored Articles

close up of rose marvel saliva blooms in purple...

Shannon Cavalero

Drought Tolerant Perennials for Utah

The best drought tolerant plants for Utah can handle high elevations, alkaline soils, excessive exposure to wind, and use of secondary water.

Group of cheerful team members high fiving each other...

Visit Bear Lake

How To Plan a Business Retreat in Bear Lake This Spring

Are you wondering how to plan a business retreat this spring? Read our sample itinerary to plan a team getaway to Bear Lake.

Cheerful young woman writing an assignment while sitting at desk between two classmates during clas...

BYU EMBA at the Marriott School of Business

Hear it Firsthand: 6 Students Share Their Executive MBA Experience at BYU’s Marriott School of Business

The Executive MBA program at BYU offers great opportunities. Hear experiences straight from students enrolled in the program.

Skier being towed by a rider on a horse. Skijoring....

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Looking for a New Winter Activity? Try Skijoring in Bear Lake

Skijoring is when someone on skis is pulled by a horse, dog, animal, or motor vehicle. The driver leads the skiers through an obstacle course over jumps, hoops, and gates.

Banner with Cervical Cancer Awareness Realistic Ribbon...

Intermountain Health

Five Common Causes of Cervical Cancer – and What You Can Do to Lower Your Risk

January is National Cervical Cancer Awareness month and cancer experts at Intermountain Health are working to educate women about cervical cancer.

Kid holding a cisco fish at winterfest...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Get Ready for Fun at the 2023 Bear Lake Monster Winterfest

The Bear Lake Monster Winterfest is an annual weekend event jam-packed full of fun activities the whole family can enjoy.

Hamlin wants this life-saving medical device required at all schools