Not quite seven months after collapsing on the field at Paycor Stadium, Buffalo Bills player Damar Hamlin returned to Cincinnati last weekend to help health officials outline the importance of learning CPR and offer free training.
Hamlin’s Chasing M’s Foundation hosted a hands-only CPR education event Saturday, July 22 on the University of Cincinnati’s campus. More than 500 people registered to take part. The foundation also provided CPR education for youth sports groups and distributed 50 automated external defibrillators (AEDs) to youth sports organizations in the community.
Clinicians from UC Health’s University of Cincinnati Medical Center and the American Heart Association led the training.
“I always say you can’t make the world a better place without action. To learn CPR and to receive these AEDs, that’s a step in taking action to make this world a better place. So, thank you,” Hamlin told attendees.
Hamlin suffered cardiac arrest during a game against the Cincinnati Bengals on Jan. 2. Members of the Bills training staff and the UC Health team used CPR, an AED and other tools to resuscitate him – and likely save his life.
Since the incident, Hamlin has become a vocal advocate for the importance of CPR education.
Members of the UC Health on-field and hospital care teams who provided medical care to Hamlin spoke alongside him at Saturday’s event.
It was Hamlin’s first visit to Cincinnati since his discharge from UC Medical Center on Jan. 9.
Dr. B. Woods Curry, MD, a UC Health emergency medicine physician, thanked Hamlin for “the heart you have shown our community and communities nationwide” since his near-tragic incident.
“Your leadership is changing the game of survival in the event of cardiac emergencies both on the field and elsewhere,” Curry added of Hamlin. “It’s no surprise that you continue to win in the game of life.”
Prior to Saturday’s afternoon, Hamlin and his family returned to UC Medical Center for a private visit with the hospital’s care teams.
“They treated me with a care that was unmatched,” Hamlin said of doctors, nurses and specialists who spent a week caring for him. “I told them I felt like family – I didn’t feel like just a patient who was going through a life-or-death situation. They genuinely cared.”
UC Health is the only academic health system in greater Cincinnati. As such, it works to raise awareness and provide education to the community in a number of areas, including cardiac health. The hospital’s Take10 Cincinnati program provides free trainings to residents, community groups and youth sports organizations in compression-only CPR.
That education is important, Curry said, because even the fastest emergency response teams or ambulances can take at least four or five minutes to reach the scene after a 911 call.
More than 400 cardiac arrests occur each year in Cincinnati, per UC Health.
“Every minute of inaction decreases the chances of survival by 10%,” said Curry, who also teaches emergency medicine at UC College of Medicine. “Hands-only CPR can and does save lives across our community every day, and we thank everyone who came to receive this training today.”
UC Health also partners with the Cincinnati Fire Department to provide PulsePoint Respond, a free app connected to 911 dispatch. It notifies app users when someone near them experiences cardiac arrest in a public place and needs CPR.