Damar Hamlin’s Impact on Sudden Cardiac Arrest Awareness


On January 2nd, 2023, many of us witnessed NFL Buffalo Bills player, Damar Hamlin collapse on the field during a Monday Night Football game against the Cincinnati Bengals. The rapid response from medical staff as they initiated CPR and AED usage not only saved Hamlin’s life but brought to light the hard facts that sudden cardiac can happen to anyone, at any age, and at any time regardless of their physical health. Hamlin now advocates for CPR/AED usage inspiring individuals to support the Access to AEDs Act to provide resources that will make schools safer on the court, on the field, and in the classroom.

What is the Access to AEDs Act?

The Access to AEDs Act, introduced by Congresswoman Sheila Cherfilus -McCormick (D-Dla) and Congressman Bill Posey (R-Fla) allows schools in every community to strengthen their cardiac emergency plan. This act would extend access to automated external defibrillators (AEDs) and increase the amount of CPR training in school systems as well as help create cardiac emergency response plans in schools across the country.

What Does the Access to AEDs Act Do?

There are three main actions that the Access to AEDs Act will initiate. These actions include:

  1. Authorize a grant program to support CPR and AED training in K-12 schools
  2. Foster new and existing community partnerships to promote the significance of having an AED in schools
  3. Establish a cardiac emergency response plan, which gives guidance on preventing death from cardiac arrest in schools

Why is this Act Important?

In the United States, sudden cardiac arrest affects 7,000-23,000 victims that are under the age of 18 and is the leading cause of death for student athletes. Bystanders performing CPR and public access to an automated external defibrillator (AED) is part of the reason many victims double or even triple their chances of survival from cardiac arrest. Having this act in place would increase CPR training availability and give schools a chance to purchase an AED and create a cardiac emergency response plan that could significantly help reduce death from cardiac arrest in a school setting.

How Can You Support the Access to AEDs Act? 

If you support the Access to AEDs Act, we recommend asking your members of congress to support it, too! The American Heart Association has created an Ask Your Members of Congress Form that you can fill out to message your lawmaker in support of this act. Without an AED on site in schools, the chances of survival after a cardiac event decrease tremendously, but you can make a difference in your area by supporting the Access to AEDs Act. If you’d like to learn more information on the Access to AEDs Act, please read full Access to AED Act here.

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