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University of Tennessee Chattanooga medical team stresses importance of CPR training following Damar Hamlin collapse

The whole world watched as Buffalo Bills player Damar Hamlin collapsed on the field Monday night and waited as he recovered all week in Cincinnati.

Members of the University of Tennessee Chattanooga’s medical team for student-athletes said in situations like that, you don’t necessarily need a medical degree to save someone’s life.

“It can happen in a game situation, it can happen in a practice situation, it can happen in weight room situation,” said UTC Assistant Director of Sports Medicine Evan Wilson said.

Wilson, Team Doctor Dr. William Garrett, and Erlanger Director and Paramedic Robbie Tester are just some of the many people who make up UTC’s medical roster for athletes.

“On a severity standpoint, that is probably at the top of our list as far as a sudden non-responsive athlete that we all have nightmares about,” said Garrett.

He said what happened on the field Monday night in Cincinnati is rare.

“Our perspective when we look at athletes in total is about one in 40 to one in 80,000,” said Dr. Garrett.

The quick response by the whole medical team gave Damar Hamlin the best chance for survival.

“Minutes matter,” said Tester.”Minutes are brain cells and every minute that passes, the likelihood of survival decreases immensely.”

However, Tester said responding with urgency and having a plan in place doesn’t take a medical degree.

What’s important is being CPR certified.

“If you have an incident in your home, it’s going to take a few minutes for first responders to arrive whether it’s the police department, fire department, or EMS,” said Tester.

Wilson said having a plan in place, responding in minutes, and having proper CPR training is essential for everyone.

“Every minute that passes where they don’t intervene, your risk of complications after the fact leading up to death increase,” said Wilson.

Some places to get CPR certified include:

  • American Red Cross
  • American Heart Association
  • CPR Essential
  • We R CPR
  • CPR Certification Chattanooga
  • Advanced CPR Training
  • Code One CPR
  • Attentive Safety CPR and Safety Training