When a victim falls due to Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA), every second counts towards saving a life.
Like millions of you, I watched in horror Monday night as Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin
collapsed after taking a hit on the football field in Cincinnati. Damar’s life was saved thanks to
the medical staff's heroics. CPR was immediately administered, but we now know an
Automated External Defibrillator (AED) was also used to save the young man’s life. Thankfully, it
appears he will fully recover, and now we have a teachable moment for our nation and the world.
AEDs save lives, and my only business is saving lives.
As the president and owner of AED Professionals in Palatine, Illinois, it’s been my life’s work to
spread the word about SCA and how an AED can save you. But what is it exactly? You’ve
probably walked past one hanging on a wall at the mall or a stadium, not knowing what it is or
does. An AED helps analyze the heart rhythm of an SCA victim to detect whether the individual
requires a shock or not. These are not the dramatic shock paddles you’ve watched TV doctors
use. With minimal training, anyone can use an AED. The technology has advanced significantly
within each unit, making it easier than ever for any individual to use during a crisis.
And it doesn’t take a hard football hit at full speed to suffer SCA. It’s the number one cause of
natural death in the United States. More than 300,000 people die every year due to SCA.
Unfortunately, my grandmother passed away at fifty when she suffered from SCA. If someone
had administered CPR and an AED had been available at the time of her collapse, she might have survived.
While the NFL and other professional leagues mandate that AEDs are on-site, more must be
made available to the public when someone suffers an SCA. Some states require CPR and AED
training depending on the school or the job, while others only encourage it.
It’s time we push this to become a national requirement.
I aim to bring awareness and accessibility to life-saving techniques and devices in any location
where people congregate. It doesn’t matter how old, active, or healthy we think we may be;
SCA can happen to anyone at any time. The chances of survival of an SCA victim fall 10% every
minute. Every minute of my day is spent educating people on what these incredible devices can do.
Let’s make it everyone’s business to help save lives.