Tragic scene during the Monday Night Football game between the Cincinnati Bengals and Buffalo Bills. You’re likely familiar with most of the details by now. Short version is that a Buffalo Bills player by the name of Damar Hamlin suffered cardiac arrest after a tackle during the game. Hamlin was administered CPR on the field before being transferred to a Cincinnati-area hospital. A relative of Hamlin told national media on Tuesday that “it seems he’s trending upwards in a positive way,” as everyone continues to hope and pray for the best.
With the public hungry for details, we reached out to the American Heart Association for some general information Tuesday morning. You may find some of it interesting and perhaps enlightening. Here are some of the tidbits the heart association provided to The Landmark.
Hamlin reportedly experienced a cardiac arrest–when the heart stops abruptly with little or no warning. The American Heart Association points out that early recognition of cardiac arrest improves the person’s chance of survival and is key to starting the correct care of CPR and the appropriate use of defibrillation to restart the heart. The on-site medical team evaluated the situation and appeared to move quickly to remove the player’s pads, begin CPR and apply the automated external defibrillator (AED).
The medical experts say CPR can help keep the heart pumping and blood flowing to vital organs until an electrical shock from a defibrillator is available to restore the heart to a normal rhythm. Then the patient can be safely moved for further medical treatment, supportive care, testing to determine what the cause of the arrest may have been and recover, including both physical and mental health resources for the person and their family.
Cardiac arrest can have several causes, the medical experts point out. Since Hamlin collapsed immediately following a tackle on the play, one potential cause could be commotio cordis. “Commotio cordis is a rare phenomenon from a sudden blunt impact to the chest causing sudden death in the absence of apparent cardiac damage,” says the American Heart Association. The blow to the chest at precisely the wrong time in the cardiac cycle causes an electrical abnormality in the heart resulting in an irregular heart rhythm that cannot pump blood to the body. “Immediate CPR and a shock to reset the rhythm can help the heartbeat return to normal function,” says the AHA.
The heart association also told us that another cause of cardiac arrest that additional tests are likely to attempt to detect or rule out is hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, or a thickened heart muscle. This is said to be a more common cause of sudden cardiac death in young people and athletes specifically. “The thickened heart can be due to a genetic condition or can be caused by athletic conditioning that thickens the muscles of the heart and can make it more susceptible to an irregular heart rhythm,” according to the American Heart Association.
Don’t forget about the mental health of those who witnessed the cardiac arrest and the mental health of the responders who dealt with it. “Witnessing and responding to a cardiac arrest can be a very traumatic event and may cause lingering psychological impact regardless of the outcome. Lay responders and witnesses may need support and resources to help process their experience,” the American Heart Association tells us.
Now, on to lighter topics. . .
It has come to my attention a couple of folks connected with the county have expressed surprise that last week’s swearing-in ceremony of newly-elected officeholders didn’t generate more in-person coverage by members of the media.
No one should take this personally, but here is my reaction: Lol.
- Swearing-in procedures are routine events. They happen more often than you might think: in fact every year for school boards, city councils and such, as those boards are set up on a schedule where each year the terms for some board seats expire. While undeniably these ceremonies might be notable for the affected officeholders and their families, if you think the general news consumer is clamoring for in-person media coverage of these things you would be incorrect. I wouldn’t place it totally in the category of “don’t give a rat’s ass” but it’s close.
- The county’s swearing-in ceremony was on a Wednesday at 11 a.m. Platte County is in a media market covered by weekly newspapers. If you’re at all familiar with the inner workings of a weekly newspaper, you know that for the majority of weeklies Wednesday is the day for printing and mailing of newspapers. In other words, the chances of staff getting out to cover a routine event lie somewhere between slim and none. And for slim to even have a chance, that event would have had to have been at some point in the day other than 11 a.m.
I don’t know who at the county picked Wednesday at 11 a.m. for a swearing-in ceremony but whoever did either didn’t realize that’s the worst possible time for most weekly newspapers or did know it and didn’t care.
My door is always open to anyone at the county who wants to hear a Ted Talk on timing events in a way to receive the most possible local news coverage.
Ron Schieber, the outgoing presiding county commissioner whose term expired Jan. 1, was a master at running meetings. It was one of his best attributes. For the most part, he was fantastic at making sure all voices that wanted to be heard during a meeting were heard, and were heard respectfully.
Scott Fricker, the newly-elected presiding commissioner, will have big shoes to fill in that regard. Fricker performed very admirably in running his first administrative session on Tuesday. Though real tests will come when controversial topics hit–Tuesday’s session was routine–if Fricker’s solid performance is a sign of what’s to come things will continue to go smoothly in that regard. Kudos.
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