Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin appeared at the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday (March 29) to promote federal legislation to equip schools and provide training for administering the same life-saving treatment that first responders performed when he went into cardiac arrest during a Monday Night Football game in January.
Hamlin endorsed the bipartisan 'Access to AEDs Act' introduced by Reps. Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick (D-Fla.) and Bill Posey (R-Fla.), which would provide grants to elementary and secondary schools to purchase automated external defibrillation devices (AEDs), batteries and maintenance, replace cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and AED equipment, and develop heart screening programs for student-athletes.
“As I was growing up playing football, I don’t recall ever thinking about CPR or knowing where an AED was in my school or on the athletic field,” Hamlin said at the Capitol via Yahoo Sports. “With my coaches on the field and my family in the stands we didn’t plan what would happen if sudden cardiac arrest should happen to me or one of my teammates. On Jan. 2, that all changed.”
Hamlin suffered cardiac arrest during the first quarter of the Bills' since-cancelled Monday Night Football game against the Cincinnati Bengals on January 2. A stretcher and ambulance came onto the field and CPR was administered by first responders.
Hamlin was hospitalized at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center and initially reported to be in critical condition before making a miraculous recovery, which coincided with an outpouring of support from players, coaches and fans. A GoFundMe page initially launched by Hamlin's Chasing M's Foundation to support a toy drive prior to his medical situation -- and later to support his recovery after far exceeding its $2,500 goal -- raised more than $9 million.
The Pittsburgh native was released from UC Medical Center one week after suffering cardiac arrest and discharged from Buffalo General Medical Center/Gates Vascular Institute after completing a series of tests and evaluations two days later.