NFL’s Damar Hamlin could have suffered rare heart trauma during tackle, doctors say

It was a shocking scene for players and fans alike, when 24-year-old Buffalo Bills defender Damar Hamlin collapsed in the first inning of the game in Cincinnati on Monday.

Something was very wrong with his heart. Paramedics are said to have used CPR and a defibrillator to restore his heart rhythm, before transferring him to a local hospital, where he remains sedated. and in critical condition, fighting for his life.

Heart experts say it’s too early to know what happened, but a rare type of injury called commotio cordis, also known as a concussion, is one possible culprit. It’s a type of arrhythmia, when the heart can’t work properly and blood pressure can drop suddenly.

Some doctors believe Hamlin’s tackle with the Bengals’ Tee Higgins – hitting the right spot in Hamlin’s chest – just before could cause trouble.

Dr Christopher Labos, a cardiologist in Montreal, says a blow to the chest with sufficient velocity and force “at the right time in the cardiac cycle” can cause an arrhythmia.

Labos told CBC News that Commotio cordis is “extremely rare,” because the heart is vulnerable to it in just milliseconds.

CLOCK | What happened to Hamlin?

What could have caused Bills’ Damar Hamlin’s cardiac arrest?

Cardiologist Christopher Labos explains: “A sudden blow to the chest of Buffalo Bills defensive line Damar Hamlin during Monday night’s NFL game against the Cincinnati Bengals appeared to have put Hamlin in cardiac arrest.

But, “when you have a young, healthy player, collapsing without a heartbeat after a blow to the chest, there’s really a diagnosis that pops into your head.”

He said Hamlin’s heartbeat had been restored with a defibrillator “only further confirming it happened”.

Commotio cordis occurs “maybe 20 times a year” in the US, and about 60 percent of those affected survive, according to heart rhythm expert Dr. Mark Link of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.

The main worry for survivors is brain damage from lack of oxygen when the heart stops pumping, Link said. Doctors can help reduce that risk with deep sedation to give the brain a rest, he said.

Dr David Angus told the TV show that for every minute of delay in resuscitating someone with the disease, the death rate increases by 10%. morning CBS on Tuesday.

Hamlin took a 19-minute break while receiving medical attention.

Sports writer Matt Parrino, who has covered the Bills since 2018 and before that the UFC, has seen all sorts of injuries. But what he saw Monday “was something different.”

“There is an urgency from all parties involved,” after Hamlin’s demise, he told CBC News.

“I believe I saw an EMT on the field that had some sort of walkie-talkie, trying to get more people out of there, before the ambulance arrived.

“And the look on her face, as she looked down at Damar Hamlin and then back to the walkie-talkie as she was shouting instructions, there was a degree of quickness and urgency to the whole situation.”

The Bills said early Tuesday, Hamlin went into cardiac arrest following the treatment phase.

“His heart rate was restored on the field and he was transported to UC Medical Center for further examination and treatment,” the team said in a statement.

Football players gather on the field among other staff.  One was clutching his face in shock.
Bills players react after Hamlin collapsed during a game at Paycor Stadium on Monday in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Image Kirk Irwin/Getty)


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