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“Have an Athletic Emergency Action Plan”: Months After Miracle Recovery, Damar Hamlin Joins Hands for Tomorrow’s Heroes

Published 03/28/2023, 2:16 PM EDT

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The National Football League does not want the happenings of January 2, 2023, to repeat anytime soon. For those a little unfamiliar with the date, it was the Week 18 regular season clash between AFC Giants, Buffalo Bills, and Cincinnati Bengals. However, the game is more infamous for what happened to Bills’ safety Damar Hamlin on the field. A sudden cardiac arrest. And the league is taking potent measures to prevent any such future tragedy.

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Fans witnessed Damar make an incredible recovery from the traumatic episode. However, it could not have been possible without the on-spot assistance from the medical staff. Hamlin recently joined the NFL’s nationwide campaign in the implementation of necessary practice policies for emergencies. Especially for high school students. And it’s not just the NFL that’s partaking.

NFL launches policy campaign with other major sporting organizations


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Apart from the NFL, The Smart Heart Sports Coalition’ also has the NBA, MLB, Major League Soccer, the NHL, and NCAA on board. According to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, the coalition alerted 43 governors in different states about the incomplete practice policies; primarily the three. Firstly, high schools need to “have an athletic emergency action plan (EAP).” The second part is ensuring that “clearly marked AEDs are at each athletic venue or within 1 to 3 minutes of each venue where high school practices or competitions are held.

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And finally, high school coaches are to be trained in CPR and AED administration. Some of the other partnered members of the Smart Heart Sports Coalition include the American Heart Association, the American Red Cross, Korey Stringer Institute, National Athletic Trainers Association, and Damar Hamlin’s Chasing M’s Foundation. Hamlin was super-enthused to be a part of a venture aimed at saving young lives, especially after Ohio State wide receiver Josh Davis collapsed due to SCA this week.


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I’m honored to support the NFL’s work to encourage all 50 states to adopt policies to protect youth. This work pushed forward the idea that every high school should have an AEP. These efforts can help the student-athletes impacted by sudden cardiac arrest,” Damar Hamlin said.

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The Bills safety ran into Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins for a routine tackle when he suddenly dropped to the field. What followed was a harrowing episode for everyone present in the stadium, as the immediate response team administered CPR before transferring him to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center.


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According to research done by the Korey Stringer Institute, AED administered within 3-5 minutes of cardiac arrest increases the likelihood of survival by almost 90 percent. And that’s exactly what saved Buffalo’s No 3. However, Damar is giving it all to once again return to the gridiron. In fact, Buffalo GM Brandon Beane thinks the recovery is “trending in the right direction.


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Eventually. That’s always the goal,” Hamlin said about his return in February. Josh Allen and Co will certainly love to have their safety back in the locker room as soon as possible.



Soumyapriyo Ganguly

964 articles

Soumyapriyo Ganguly is an NFL writer at Essentially Sports. He holds a degree in Economics and Statistics from the Indian School of Business and Finance. Rivu is a sports nerd with his favorites being Soccer, American Football, Basketball, UFC, and Formula 1.

Edited By: Hitesh Nigam