It’s unknown at this point whether the cardiac arrest experienced by Bills safety Damar Hamlin was caused by commotio cordis, a rare condition resulting from sudden trauma to the chest. It is one of the specific risks of sudden death for participants in youth baseball.
And even if Damar Hamlin’s cardiac arrest was ultimately unrelated to commotio cordis, the situation highlights the importance of having Automated External Defibrillators available for youth sporting events.
In New Orleans, the Saints and Pelicans have decided to ensure that the devices are available. The teams will donate 40 AEDs for the New Orleans Recreation Department and 27 for the Jefferson Parish Recreation Department.
“In light of the horrible events involving Buffalo Bills Safety Damar Hamlin, we felt it was urgent that we reach out to our local recreational facilities to determine their needs,” Saints and Pelicans owner Gayle Benson said in a release. “NFL games have the most advanced medical staff and equipment on hand, and we believe this needs to be replicated as best as possible on the youth sports level.”
Amen to that. The extensive medical presence at NFL games underscores the reality that, at the lower levels of all sports, the resources are far more scarce. At a minimum, AEDs and one or more individuals trained in CPR should be at every sporting event.
It’s good that the Saints are doing their part to help their community. Here’s hoping that other professional sports teams in other communities follow suit.