St. Petersburg, Fla. (WFLA) — The collapse of Bills safety Damar Hamlin brought players and fans to a standstill during Monday night’s game.
Hamlin was taken off the field by an ambulance after collapsing on the field during Monday night’s game vs. the Bengals. He received CPR while on the field.
The Bills released a statement saying that Hamlin suffered a cardiac arrest. His heartbeat was restored on the field. In an update on Wednesday, the team said he is still in critical condition at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center.
Chief Cardiologist at Bayfront Medical Center, Dr. Peter Wassmer said the quick actions of medical staff likely gave Hamlin a much better chance of surviving.
“When I saw him stand up and collapse, I thought that it may be an impact to the chest,” said Dr. Wassmer, who was watching the game as Hamlin collapsed.
“I never saw his head hit. When I saw him collapse and he was just laying down, I thought well it was chest wall trauma, and that he may be in cardiac arrest,” said Dr. Wassmer.
On Tuesday, his suspicions were confirmed that Hamlin suffered cardiac arrest after the hit.
“It’s called Commotio Cordis, which is just Latin for chaotic activity or commotion,” said Dr. Wassmer, who explained that Hamlin likely did not have any heart problems before the hit, rather it is a disruption to someone’s heartbeat, after a blow to the area directly over the heart, at a critical time during the body’s heartbeat.
“It’s rare because it has to happen just within those few milliseconds of that particular cardiac cycle,” said Dr. Wassmer. “Usually happens with sports that have projectiles like baseball, you know a hockey puck, things of that nature.”
Dr. Wassmer said quick medical attention is critical to saving someone’s life.
“It can cause brain death, so it really depends again on how quickly they were able to get his heart pumping back in the regular rhythm,” Dr. Wassmer added.
As of Wednesday, Hamlin was reported to be sedated, and in critical condition.
Dr. Wassmer said that Hamlin is likely sedated to give his body, and brain time to recover. He expects the medical team to bring Hamlin out of sedation within 24-48 hours to see if he has brain function, and to get a better idea of his prognosis.