Local doctors weigh in on Damar Hamlin’s injury

Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin (3) reacts during the second half of an NFL football game...
Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin (3) reacts during the second half of an NFL football game against the New England Patriots, Thursday, Dec. 1, 2022, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Greg M. Cooper)(Greg M. Cooper | AP)
Published: Jan. 3, 2023 at 4:54 PM EST
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(WFSB) - Doctors are weighing in after the horrifying moments that unfolded during the Buffalo Bills’ game against the Cincinnati Bengals Monday night.

A team of physicians from Hartford HealthCare discussed Bills’ safety Damar Hamlin’s injury.

They believe he suffered from something called commotio cordis. It’s very rare and occurs from a hard impact to the chest. They’re urging more members of the public to learn CPR.

“It’s quite rare. It’s rare because it has to happen in exactly the right situation and exactly a susceptible athlete,” said Dr. Paul Thompson, Chief of Cardiology Emeritus at Hartford Hospital.

Local doctors weighed in after Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin collapsed on the field Monday night.

Team officials say the 24-year-old is in critical condition.

He suffered cardiac arrest and collapsed moments after getting up from an open field tackle.

Doctors with Hartford HealthCare believe it was commotio cordis.

“It has to be a hard object or something hard that hit you right in the center of the chest. It almost always happens in males. It usually happens in males between the ages of 11 and 19. That’s because the chest is compressible at that time,” Thompson said.

Commotio cordis is rare in football.

“This is something that could happen in a little league baseball game, in a hockey game, in a lacrosse game, softball game,” said Dr. Antonio Fernandez, Director of Athlete’s Heart with Hartford HealthCare’s Heart & Vascular Institute.

Medical personnel rushed to Hamlin’s aid and administered CPR. His heartbeat was restored on the field.

“This comes down to the fact how quickly did he get CPR, how quickly did they defibrillate him and restore blood flow to his brain. The fact that he’s a young 24-year-old athlete plays in his favor,” said Dr. Steven Zweibel, System Director of Cardiac Electrophysiology at Hartford HealthCare’s Heart & Vascular Institute.

Patients who have a delay in receiving proper CPR or defibrillation have worse neurological outcomes.

“Hopefully he will recover fully, and hopefully what will come out of this is awareness that CPR needs to be universally taught by the general population,” Zweibel said.

There are only about 30 cases in the United States each year.

Survival is typically around 60-percent.

Doctors and everyone else hope Damar Hamlin can make a full recovery.

Hamlin’s family released a statement, saying they are grateful for all the support.

More than $4 million has been donated to Hamlin’s toy charity.

For information on learning CPR, click here.

For the full discussion with doctors on Hamlin’s injury, click here.