Cody Moffat, an expert in sports medicine, knows how scared parents of young athletes were when they saw Dumar Hamlin collapse from cardiac arrest on “Monday Night Football.”
“Since Tuesday morning, nearly every family I’ve visited the clinic has asked about this,” said Moffat, director of sports medicine at the Children’s Hospital and Medical Center in Omaha, Nebraska. “They were worried about the impact on the chest.”
Life-threatening injuries like these are extremely rare, and while the 24-year-old Buffalo Bills appear to be back on the safe side, the incident serves as a reminder of how quickly injuries can occur.
Doctors at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center haven’t announced the exact cause of Hamlin’s cardiac arrest — a sudden loss of heart function — but they didn’t rule out a phenomenon called a heart attack at Thursday’s news briefing.
A heart attack occurs when a projectile (such as a hockey puck or baseball) hits a person’s chest, causing the heart’s electrical system to go out of control. The person may go into fatal cardiac arrest.
Immediate CPR and an automated external defibrillator (AED) are critical in the moments that follow, and that’s how Dummer Hamlin survived, experts say.
Dr. William Roberts, an expert in sports medicine at the University of Minnesota, said “a quick response saved this athlete’s life.”
Cordis occur less than a dozen times a year Can chest protectors prevent problems? If pads cost over $100, is it worth it?
“If it’s your child, it’s not uncommon,” said Karen Acompola, director of Parent Heart Watch, a group that advocates for greater cardioprotection in youth sports.
Acompora’s son, Luis, was hit in the chest in 2000 while playing in his first high school lacrosse game on Long Island, New York, and had a Cordis seizure. He was given cardiopulmonary resuscitation, but he did not have an AED at the scene.
Louis was only 14 years old when he died. Since then, his mother has sought chest protection in youth sports.
“I don’t understand why youth sports don’t jump over safe ground before they have problems,” Acompola said.
Until 2019, the National Steering Committee for Athletic Equipment Standards had not developed standards for chest protectors.
In 2022, USA Lacrosse will require all youth lacrosse players to wear chest protection.
Doctors have not revealed whether Hamlin’s injury was indeed a heart attack, but Acompora is pleased to see the condition gaining national attention.
“I hope this latest incident will make people open their eyes and say, hmm, something might need to be done.”
Opinions vary regarding chest protection in youth sports.
A 2017 study led by Tufts Medical Center in Boston found that chest protectors, especially those incorporating Kevlar, may be “effective in preventing cordius movements on the playing field.”
Stevens, who was not involved in Tufts’ research, explained that Kevlar works by dispersing the energy of the impact rather than allowing the projectile to concentrate all of its force at one point.
However, this study was done using pigs rather than humans. Matthew Silvis, Ph.D., director of sports medicine at Penn State University, says there isn’t enough scientific evidence to support the use of chest protectors in youth sports.
Silvis was concerned that the chest protector might give him a false sense of security.
“I don’t want people wearing chest protectors thinking they can play a little more recklessly because they’re protected from injury,” Silvis said.
Until Monday night’s NFL game, Dr. Chad Stevens, a private practitioner near Dallas and an expert in interventional pain and sports medicine, said he was only interested in high school sports like baseball and lacrosse, where heart attacks are more common. I would recommend pads.
Stevens said, “I never intended to recommend a chest pad for a non-projectile sport to a player. I wasn’t convinced that something like that could happen” in football. is making us rethink our entire stance. ”
Rob Vito, founder and CEO of Unequal Technologies, said his phone was inundated with calls from coaches, players and parents.
The company makes chest pads that contain Kevlar, the same material used in bulletproof vests.
“I get calls from soccer moms and baseball dads,” Vito said. “All sports are reaching out.”
Can cordis be prevented?
Instead of investing in chest protection, Penn State Health’s Silvis advises coaches to teach young players proper technique when faced with an oncoming ball or hockey puck.
In such cases, the player should learn to turn the body as sideways as possible to avoid hitting the chest.
Roberts of the University of Minnesota says the best way to prevent children from dying from cardiac arrest on the field is to make sure coaches and players know how to perform CPR and have AEDs readily available. says that it is
“If you are looking at reducing risk by adding a chest plate, CPR and CPR in terms of lives saved compared to reducing risk by training everyone in Hands-Only CPR with on-site AED access. We’re going to be very dependent on AEDs,” said Roberts, who is affiliated with the National Academy of Sports Medicine.
Instead of parents buying chest protectors, “How can we make sure the coaches and people attending these games are trained in CPR?” asked Silvis. .
There is widespread agreement that AEDs are required at all sporting events, not only for athletes, but also for coaches, parents, grandparents and other game spectators.
Data showing that chest protectors consistently protect against cordius exertion are lacking, but younger athletes involved in baseball, hockey and lacrosse may want to consider them, Moffat said.
“It does very little harm and certainly can have a big benefit,” Moffat said. “As a doctor as well as a father, I like to do things to protect my children.”
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