A Pennsylvania lawmaker is drafting a bill to make automated external defibrillators (AEDs) mandatory at school athletic events after the frightening collapse of Bill’s safety Damar Hamlin on the field January 2 in Cincinnati.
The bill, already dubbed “Damar’s Law,” is scheduled to be introduced by Pennsylvania State Senator Marty Flynn next month.
Raised in McKee’s Rocks, Pennsylvania, Hamlin was a star player at Central Catholic in Pittsburgh and the University of Pittsburgh before being drafted by the Bills.
“It really woke me up and woke me up in my chair watching the game,” Flynn said via WKBN. “How do we give our children the chance that Damar had here?”
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Hamlin received immediate and comprehensive care and had to be resuscitated in the field.
The Mayo Clinic estimates that between 1 in 50,000 and 1 in 80,000 young athletes die from sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) each year.
“My legislation aims to recognize and address the increased risks of sudden cardiac arrest in athletes by requiring that an AED be present at every sporting event hosted by a school district,” Flynn said. “In addition, all trainers would need to complete training on the proper use of AEDs. These requirements would ensure that the most critical component to increasing post-SCA survivability is addressed.”
Finding a way to pay for the AEDs and training will be the next hurdle.
“Damar Hamlin is a reminder that even top athletes experience SCA. His recovery has been described by many as “miraculous”, although it is undeniable that the immediate response saved his life. I encourage my colleagues to support this bill to give our student-athletes an equal chance at a ‘miracle,'” Flynn said. “It’s 1 in 50,000, 1 in 100,000, but you know you’re saving that one child’s life, it’s worth all the AEDs you have to buy,” he said.
This week, Hamlin announced a partnership with the American Heart Association in the “3 for Heart” challenge. Buffalo Bills safety encourages people to become CPR certified because every second counts. The American Heart Association says immediate CPR is possible Double or even triple the chances of a cardiac arrest victim surviving.