CAPITAL REGION, N.Y.(NEWS10) With all eyes of the nation on the health of Damar Hamlin, Capital Region sports organizations are also looking at safety here with our youth sports teams. News 10 takes the time to speak with local Pop Warner officials to check in with how we are keeping our kids safe.
Capital Region parents, young athletes, and their coaches were among millions of Americans who watched in terror as the Buffalo Bills Safety collapsed after a tackle Monday night. Medical experts believe it was due to a cardiac event.
The Albany Pop Warner Vice President Tor McDowell tells NEWS10 the televised event shook him to the core.
“That would most likely one of the most freakiest accidents I’ve ever seen in my entire life and I’ve played football starting from Pop Warner on through High School,” said McDowell.
Cardiac arrest episodes affect over 380,000 Americans a year according to the American Heart Association. That is more than 1,000 a day. Colonie EMS Assistant Chief Robbie MacCue says the main key is reacting quickly.
“Every minute that goes by the chances of survival decreases by about 10%,” said MacCue.
MacCue says CPR training and proper equipment are key to protecting lives.
McDowell says that USA Football organization provides training videos and that he will not let staff or volunteers on the field without the videos or CPR training.
“We’re prepared for these kinds of things. And if you do not take them, we’re not putting you on our staff,” said McDowell
Pop Warner Head Coach Charles Chandler tells NEWS10 what he relies on to protect his players.
“The first thing I do is I put my faith in the equipment. I check the equipment. I believe all the equipment for the most part does what it’s designed to do as long as it fits properly and is up to standards,” said Chandler.
The coach tells me he regularly sends equipment to be checked out to see if they are up to those current safety standards. The team now has over a dozen helmets in for inspection and could use about 100 new helmets in total in order to keep up with new technologies of today.
While the team leaders say the kids are safe with them, they add that they do desperately need at least one Automated External Defibrillator. The more commonly referred to AED is used to revive a player if the worst should happen by sending a shock to the heart.