Protecting athletes from sudden cardiac arrest

Published: Jul. 26, 2023 at 10:44 PM CDT
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WICHITA FALLS, Texas (KAUZ) - Cardiac Arrest has been a topic of discussion this year with two notable athletes suffering from sudden cardiac arrest.

Damar Hamlin of the Buffalo Bills and Bronny James, son of Lebron James both suffered sudden cardiac arrest this year.

Damar during a Monday Night Football game in January while facing the Cincinnati Bengals. While making a tackle, Hamlin was hit directly in the chest area with a helmet causing him to experience cardiac arrest.

Bronny James more recently on July, 24. The freshman basketball player experienced cardiac arrest during practice at USC.

These two athletes both recovered from these events.

Local high school football coach, Grant Freeman and his staff were able to save a player in the fall of 2020 after they collapsed on the practice field.

“As we were transitioning from stations during fall camp, he just collapsed right in front of me at my feet” Wichita Falls High School Football Coach, Grant Freeman said.

“At that point, we began CPR. Our trainer Josh Burson and myself began CPR while another coach had gone and gotten our AED machine”. Freeman said.

An automated external defibrillator is a machine used to shock someone who is experiencing sudden cardiac arrest.

Freeman and his staff credit them for knowing CPR skills and having knowledge of how to use the AED to save the player’s life.

“I think people who are trained can think clearly and be able to do those things. I think it was the difference between saving his life and going to a funeral” Freeman said.

Sudden cardiac arrest is a rare heart condition that doesn’t happen often.

According to Cleveland Clinic, sudden cardiac arrest is so rare that about 1 in 100,000 to 1 in 300,000 athletes will experience it.