A local cardiologist and emergency medicine physician said when an incident like Damar Hamlin’s occurs, time is of the essence when providing care.
After watching Monday Night Football with the Buffalo Bills and Cincinnati Bengals, a cardiologist of LECOM said his first thought was commodio cordis after Hamlin’s injury.
He said commotio cordis is a rare injury when a person sustains blunt force trauma to the chest and is typically lethal sending the heart into ventricular fibrillation.
“There is really no way of knowing ahead of time which individuals would be predisposed to this type of event if any,” said Carmine D’Amico, board-certified cardiologist, LECOM.
D’Amico said commotio cordis can be lethal if resuscitation efforts are not successful or if it does not self-terminate. He added that there is a slim window of time to administer proper care to the victim.
“Most of the data states that it needs to be within the first three minutes. Obviously, the sooner the better,” said D’Amico.
When an incident like commotio cordis occurs, a local sports medicine doctor said that not only is it important to have the equipment on hand but to ensure those around are trained to use it.
“You can buy equipment and it can sit on a wall. You don’t practice it, train it and then coaches and trainers just aren’t familiar with it and there are people who think it’s such a rare occurrence. Why do it? Why is it worth the expense? But I think you saw last night that it’s worth the expense,” said Fred Mirarchi, emergency medicine physician, E2A2 sports complex.
The cardiologist said recovery from commotio cordis is dependent on the severity of the injury and if nerve damage is a factor.
“There are some people who pretty much make a full recovery, and there are others that unfortunately don’t and have various levels of neurological problems afterwards,” D’Amico added.
Both physicians said the next 12, 24 and even 48 hours after commotio cordis are critical.