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Hartford HealthCare cardiologist says blow to chest caused Damar Hamlin cardiac arrest

The doctor says it's a rare condition that can happen to anyone - only 25 to 30 cases are reported a year across the country.

Mark Sudol

Jan 3, 2023, 10:32 PM

Updated 531 days ago

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Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin remains in critical condition at a Cincinnati hospital after suffering a cardiac arrest in Monday night's game versus the Cincinnati Bengals.
As his Bills teammates looked on with tears in their eyes, medical staff immediately tended to 24-year-old Hamlin. They administered CPR and got his heart restarted after Hamlin made what appeared to be a routine tackle.
"I was watching the game and saw the event occur," said Dr. Jeffrey Berman with the Hartford HealthCare Heart and Vascular Institute at St. Vincent's Medical Center.
Berman says he realized what Hamlin suffered from as he continued watching.
"Commotio cordis, which just means a blow to the chest causing cardiac arrest," said Berman.
Berman says it's a rare condition that can happen to anyone - only 25 to 30 cases are reported a year across the country.
"It could be a ball, or it could be a shoulder pad or a helmet hitting the front wall of the heart at just the right speed to cause the heart to be flipped into an abnormal rhythm," said Berman.
Berman says most cases are people who do not have any pre-existing conditions. He says more and more progress has been made to save lives.
The NFL postponed Monday night's game because of the injury.
The injury has hit home with many people, such as former semi-pro football player Hakim Pearce. He is now coaching youth football in Stratford. Pearce knows this was a freak accident and is not sure any further equipment protection will help.
"It's really not that much more equipment without compromising the speed and integrity of the game," said Pearce.
The NFL says it has not made a decision as to whether the Bills-Bengals game will ever be resumed.
Hamlin's family thanked the public for their support and asked for continued prayers.


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