After Hamlin Collapsed, Radio Calls Got Intense

Emergency recordings lend insight into grave scene on the field
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 6, 2023 11:32 AM CST
Emergency Recordings Reveal Gravity of Scene on the Field
Buffalo Bills player Damar Hamlin is examined after collapsing during an NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals on Monday in Cincinnati.   (AP Photo/Joshua A. Bickel)

As Buffalo Bills player Damar Hamlin continues to heal following his collapse during an NFL game Monday night after suffering from a cardiac arrest, recordings have been released of the red-alert emergency response on the field at Cincinnati's Paycor Stadium. "I don't like how he went down" was an initial reaction heard on emergency radio traffic captured by a publicly available website that tracks such communications, per the New York Times. Just seconds later, things could be heard escalating as those on the field realized how dire the situation was. "We're going to need everybody! All-call, all-call!" another person insisted. The first person replied, "Call, bring everybody! We need an airway doctor, everybody! Bring the cot with the medics."

The paper notes that a "small army" of first responders, doctors, and athletic trainers worked on Hamlin for about 30 minutes before an ambulance took him away. The Washington Post reports it was closer to 15 minutes of trying to resuscitate Hamlin on the field (one assistant athletic trainer in particular is receiving recognition), but either way, the quick and expert response that arose may have saved Hamlin's life, especially in terms of administering CPR and using a defibrillator to help reboot his heart.

"What we say in medicine is you've got four minutes," Anne Curtis, a heart health expert at the University at Buffalo, tells the paper. "If you can start effective CPR within four minutes of a patient going down, you can have a very good neurological outcome." With dozens of trained medical staff and specialists present at NFL games, that response was immediate in Hamlin's case. And it seems to have spurred some good among those following the story: WTXL reports that, in some areas, registration for CPR training surged after Hamlin's collapse.

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Fundraising for Hamlin's children's charity has also spiked, closing in on $8 million as of Friday morning, with Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady donating $10,000, per WXIX. Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay appears to be one of the largest donors, ponying up $25,003, the extra $3 an apparent reference to Hamlin's jersey number. The fund had less than $3,000 before this week. Hamlin's father, Mario, is now asking that people also consider donating to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center's trauma center, per Yahoo Sports. (More Damar Hamlin stories.)

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