Damar Hamlin's Impact on Sudden Cardiac Arrest Awareness


On January 2nd, 2023, during the first quarter of the Buffalo Bills vs. Cincinnati Bengals game, 24-year-old Damar Hamlin was taken down by Bengals receiver Tee Higgins. After rising from the tackle, little did Hamlin know that he would be falling a second time, but this time from something far more dangerous than a tackle. After taking two steps and collapsing again on the turf, Hamlin suffered from sudden cardiac arrest (SCA). The medical team quickly administered CPR and shocks from an AED on the field to revive Hamlin's heartbeat. He then was transported to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center in critical condition where he recovered before being sent home.2

Damar Hamlin's case brought attention to the fact that sudden cardiac arrest can happen in individuals with no underlying heart conditions. With Hamlin's heart health looking to be in the clear from any hidden heart concerns that may have triggered SCA, many cardiac experts deemed the cause of his case as a condition called commotio cordis.

What is Commotio Cordis?

Commotio cordis occurs when there is a blunt impact directly to the heart wall that sends the heart into an arrhythmia. This type of impact is common among athletes who play contact sports as they have a higher risk to get hit in the chest with a ball or punched. Commotio cordis, however, is very rare considering the chest must be struck at a very critical time while the heart is relaxing and at the very right second – 20 milliseconds to be exact.

Commotio cordis results in sudden cardiac arrest leaving just 4-6 minutes before the brain begins to die after not receiving oxygenated blood. These first few minutes are absolutely crucial in saving a life and thankfully for Hamlin, a staff of medical providers was able to jump on the scene to revive him and bring him to the hospital to recover safely. 3

How Has Hamlin Brought Awareness to SCA?

Hamlin's survivor story has undoubtedly impacted the world as he stirred up the media conversation on how we can be more prepared as a country when it comes to sudden cardiac arrest. Hamlin has inspired:

  • Articles and news stories on national media outlets that spotlighted the importance of being emergency prepared on the field, at your workplace, and in your community
  • A bill called “Damar's Law” initiated to require school systems to have an AED during sporting events
  • AED and CPR training sessions on morning talk shows and news outlets to promote the importance of being prepared for a cardiac emergency
  • Thousands of companies and organizations investing in CPR staff or team training and purchasing AEDs to have for public use

Many organizations like the American Heart Association (AHA) have always preached about the importance of CPR and sudden cardiac awareness. In response to his cardiac event, Hamlin has now teamed up with the American Heart Association and created a new challenge called Damar Hamlin's #3forHeart CPR Challenge. The challenge invites individuals to:

  1. Learn CPR by watching the AHA hands-only CPR video
  2. Donate to AHA to fund CPR education and training
  3. Challenge 3 friends by tagging them with #3forHeartTM on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Linked In.

The impact Hamlin has made on the importance of CPR and sudden cardiac awareness has brought such a positive light on the athlete. However, Hamlin's accident has not been the reason for his active involvement in giving back to the community. The football star has always been known to be active in his community and give back to charity even before his name was in all the newspapers.

Hamlin's non-profit, The Chasing M Foundation, which was started in 2020 and originally sought $2,500, gives toys to children and families in his hometown of McKees Rocks, PA, and has now reached over $9 million. His efforts to create impactful moments for the youth started well before his accident. Jason Mackey, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reporter, stated that Hamlin often showed up to youth football practices in the area to work out with young players, sign autographs, and pose for pictures.1

The impact one survivor's story has had on the country is an incredible way to spread awareness of the seriousness of sudden cardiac arrest and the importance of CPR, which aligns with our mission here at Cardio Partners.

We want to provide you with the resources you and your business need to take one step closer to being a heart-safe community. Our three brands AED.com, Heartsmart, and AEDSuperstore offer sudden cardiac arrest awareness resources, American Red Cross and American Heart Association CPR training options, and top-of-the-line AED and emergency solutions at the best prices available, so you can find exactly what you need to be emergency prepared for the future.  


1Jarden, S. (2023, January 15). What is Damar Hamlin's charity? the cause behind Chasing M's Foundation & How to donate on GoFundMe, website. Sporting News. Retrieved February 2, 2023, from https://www.sportingnews.com/us/nfl/news/damar-hamlin-gofundme-charity-chasing-ms-donate/u25seth5cjwyhe77tblhx272

2Mather, V. (2023, January 4). What to know about Damar Hamlin's injury. The New York Times. Retrieved February 2, 2023, from https://www.nytimes.com/article/damar-hamlin-injury-update.html

3NBC News. (2023, January 5). Cardiac arrest causes: What led to Buffalo Bills' Damar Hamlin's collapse? NBCNews.com. Retrieved February 2, 2023, from https://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/cardiac-arrest-causes-buffalo-bills-damar-hamlin-rcna64020

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