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Cardiologist explains what caused Bills' Damar Hamlin to suffer a cardiac arrest

News 12 New Jersey spoke with Matthew Martinez, Atlantic Health Systems and New York Jets sports cardiologist, about the incident and his thoughts on Hamlin's recovery.

News 12 Staff

Jan 3, 2023, 9:57 PM

Updated 534 days ago

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News 12 New Jersey spoke with a cardiologist about what caused Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin to suffer a cardiac arrest Monday night against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Hamlin suffered the cardiac arrest following as he tackled Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins.
His heartbeat was restored on the field, and he was transferred to a Cincinnati hospital, where he is sedated and listed in critical condition.
Amid speculation, it is still unclear the exact cause of the cardiac arrest.
A statement from the Hamlin family reads, "On behalf of our family, we want to express our sincere gratitude for the love and support shown to Damar during this challenging time. We are deeply moved by the prayers, kind words, and donations from fans around the country,"
News 12 New Jersey spoke with Matthew Martinez, Atlantic Health Systems and New York Jets sports cardiologist, about the incident and his thoughts on Hamlin's recovery.
"What happens over the next 24 hours is they recover, and we look for a spontaneous recovery of cardiac function and then is there neurologic stability? Is he neurologically intact afterwards? We won't know that afterwards for another couple days at least," Martinez said.
Cardiopulmonary resuscitation and the use of a defibrillator were important parts of getting Hamlin's heartbeat restored.
In New Jersey, Janet's Law requires every district and school to have an automated external defibrillator available.
Some wonder if more should be done to create a baseline heart assessment for student athletes using an electrocardiogram.
"The question of screening is clearly coming up more and more and so far, we have been unable to show in a rigorous academic matter EKGs have been ever to show reduce the risk of cardiac events," Martinez added.
Martinez said the benefits of sports and physical activity at any age outweigh the risks.
"What you should be asking yourself is how can I make myself better equipped? How can I learn CPR? Do we have a defibrillator? Do we have enough of them? Are they easy to access? Do I know how to run it? Do each of my personal have a plan for this," he says.
While cardiac arrest events in athletes like Hamlin make headlines nationwide and in New Jersey, Martinez said data does not show these events are happening more often.
Martinez does not believe myocarditis from COVID-19 or the effects of COVID-19 caused this.
It's unclear if Hamlin had any preexisting conditions.


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