Local Athletic Trainer Discusses Resources Available For Emergencies During Games

A Buffalo Bills safety is in critical condition after suffering cardiac arrest and collapsing during Monday night’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals.

A coach from a local athletics department spoke to News On 6 about the resources they have should a similar situation arise.

Doctors and coaches said last night’s game is an example of football that is fun to watch, but extremely dangerous for players who take the hits.

Medical staff performed CPR and used a defibrillator on Damar Hamlin before he was taken to a local hospital.

It’s unclear what triggered Hamlin’s cardiac arrest, but Utica Park Clinic sports medicine specialist Dr. Barry Dockery suspects it could be commotio cordis, which is a blunt force trauma to the chest that disrupts heart rhythm.

Hamlin collapsed during the game making a tackle.

“I would consider that to be one of the rarest things you’ll see in sports medicine,” Dockery said.

While that’s rare, Dockery said team doctors responded quickly and it’s important that all sports teams have a similar plan in case something goes wrong.

“You prepare for cases like this, but you hope it never happens, because every time someone’s heart stops, they need immediate CPR and then defibrillation. “Dockery said.

Owasso Athletics coach Zach McGinty said the district has a plan for the unthinkable situation in which something happens to a student athlete.

McGinty said there is a different contingency plan for each of the athletics stadiums. He said the athletic department has automated external defibrillators that are kept in buildings and out of the way.

According to McGinty, AEDs are something every sports medicine team should have. In addition to this, schools should have trained staff equipped to take over in emergency situations.

“In my opinion, if you play sports, you should have a sports coach,” McGinty said. “It’s really not fair to put all the responsibility for emergencies on a coach.”

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