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.

Education + Schools

Photo courtesy of Getty Images...

Curt Gresseth

Liberal arts education is a good choice for students, says professor

Education in the liberal arts is trending down in the US, but a University of Pennsylvania professor argues for pursuing liberal arts.

2 days ago

students walk on the U of U campus,...

Aimee Cobabe

University of Utah changes policy on tuition coverage for student employees

The University of Utah is changing its policy on covering tuition costs for employees. Not everyone is pleased with this change.

3 days ago

Gardens grown at the Utah State Correctional Facility...

Heather Peterson

New department prepares inmates for life after prison

A new prison program aims to help inmates gain work skills and training to to be successful for life after prison.

3 days ago

(Copper Mountain Middle School)...

Eliza Pace

Utah seventh grader helps friend cross the finish line of school race

A Utah seventh grade student is being praised for helping his friend cross the finish line at their school race.

3 days ago

The Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT), in collaboration with Utah State University (USU), su...

Diana Jones

Vertiports: The future is coming to Utah sooner rather than later

The Utah Department of Transportation, or UDOT, is pushing Utah into the future by taking steps to integrate vertiports around the state. But what are they? 

3 days ago

Herriman High senior Jorge Velasco getting his required hours in while cutting a West Jordan Middle...

Eric Cabrera

West Jordan Middle School opens the Lion’s Mane barbershop

The low-cost Lion's Mane barbershop will help provide haircuts to the community and experience for student barbers.

3 days ago

Sponsored Articles

a doctor putting her hand on the chest of her patient...

Intermountain Health

Intermountain nurse-midwives launch new gynecology access clinic

An access clinic launched by Intermountain nurse-midwives provides women with comprehensive gynecology care.

Young couple hugging while a realtor in a suit hands them keys in a new home...

Utah Association of Realtors

Buying a home this spring? Avoid these 5 costly pitfalls

By avoiding these pitfalls when buying a home this spring, you can ensure your investment will be long-lasting and secure.

a person dressed up as a nordic viking in a dragon boat resembling the bear lake monster...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

The Legend of the Bear Lake Monster

The Bear Lake monster has captivated people in the region for centuries, with tales that range from the believable to the bizarre.


Live Nation Concerts

All the artists coming to Utah First Credit Union Amphitheatre (formerly USANA Amp) this summer

Summer concerts are more than just entertainment; they’re a celebration of life, love, and connection.

Mother and cute toddler child in a little fancy wooden cottage, reading a book, drinking tea and en...

Visit Bear Lake

How to find the best winter lodging in Bear Lake, Utah

Winter lodging in Bear Lake can be more limited than in the summer, but with some careful planning you can easily book your next winter trip.

Happy family in winter clothing at the ski resort, winter time, watching at mountains in front of t...

Visit Bear Lake

Ski more for less: Affordable ski resorts near Bear Lake, Utah

Plan your perfect ski getaway in Bear Lake this winter, with pristine slopes, affordable tickets, and breathtaking scenery.

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