Getting Answers: importance of early CPR and AED usage in cardiac events

After Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin collapsed on the field after suffering cardiac arrest Monday night, we’re getting answers on the importance of early CPR
Published: Jan. 3, 2023 at 3:28 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 3, 2023 at 5:49 PM EST
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WESTFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - After Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin collapsed on the field after suffering cardiac arrest Monday night, we’re getting answers on the importance of early CPR and an automated external defibrillator, also known as an AED.

It was a terrifying moment for thousands who watched Hamlin collapse after getting hit on the field. An automatic external defibrillator, also known as an AED, was used and CPR was administered.

“Last night showed us a lot of things. Obviously, a tragedy and our hearts and prayers are with him and his family, but it shows us that these things work when you’re around the device and people know how to use them,” said State Senator John Velis.

Velis has pushed to have AEDs mandatory in schools in the Bay State following the death of 19-year-old Kevin Major from Westfield, who passed away from sudden cardiac arrest in 2011.

“In 2017, I got to know this issue because of my unbelievable constituent thoroughly a tragedy of her own losing her son and starting KEVS Foundation, which has been miraculous in the number of lives they saved,” Velis explained.

The state’s school AED law went into effect in 2018.

It is not known at this time if Hamlin has an underlying heart condition, but following Major’s death, it was discovered that he had an undiagnosed heart condition.

“The real concern is for folks that go through something like this and they might not even know that they have a cardiac issue, and they are not around an AED, and they are not around people who have the bandwidth to use it,” Velis added.

KEVS Foundation was formed to help provide AEDs to venues with large gatherings and sponsors cardiac screenings for young people. Western Mass News is digging deeper into the AED laws in place in Massachusetts. All schools and health clubs in the Bay State must have at least one AED on-site, but the device is not mandatory at public sporting complexes and fields. That’s something Velis said he is hoping to see change.

“It’s unfortunate that it takes something like last night because this happens all the time with people going through cardiac arrest and then those type of instances seconds matter. Not minutes, seconds matter, so ensuring that we can get these devices all over the place so we can pass this legislation,” Velis noted.