COLONIE, N.Y. (NEWS10) — After watching Buffalo Bills player, Damar Hamlin collapse on the field during Monday Night Football, emergency crews with Colonie EMS put on their thinking caps. They mentioned it is a relief to hear he is still alive, even in his current state.
“While we do not know the exact cause of Damar Hamlin’s cardiac arrest, the timeline and events suggest a rare event called Commotio Cordis,” a spokesperson for Colonie EMS said in a Facebook post. “It is estimated that this occurs less than 30 times a year and even though rare, we have had cases at sporting events right here in Colonie.”
Officials said Commotio Cordis refers to the sudden change from a normal cardiac rhythm to one that is lethal. This is caused by a low-force impact on the chest wall.
The median age of athletes who suffer from Commotio Cordis is 15. It is most common in sports with projectiles like baseballs or hockey pucks, but cases have also been reported in high physical contact sports, authorities said. “Any strike in the middle of the chest, even with a low impact can cause the heat to enter a lethal cardiac rhythm if it happens at a specific time in the heart’s cardiac cycle,” the online statement continued.
“With cases of Commotio Cordis, immediate CPR and early defibrillation remain the most important treatment and are more likely to restore a regular heart rhythm than some other causes of sudden cardiac arrest,” the spokesperson added. “Learning CPR and making sure an AED is available at all sporting events is a great way to ensure you are prepared if this situation occurs.”
Damar Hamlin’s family shared that he remained in critical condition Wednesday morning. The Bills safety has been resuscitated twice, his father said.
He is currently flipped onto his stomach to relieve pressure on his lungs. Doctors are trying to get him off the ventilator and breathing on his own—the first step to what’s sure to be a long, bumpy road to recovery.