Packers donating AEDs after Damar Hamlin’s cardiac arrest

Automated external defibrillator (AED) in a hallway for people suffering a cardiac event
Automated external defibrillator (AED) in a hallway for people suffering a cardiac event(GRAY)
Published: Jan. 18, 2023 at 4:57 PM CST
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin’s sudden cardiac arrest on the football field two weeks ago has sparked action in the Green Bay Packers organization. It’s teaming up with Bellin Health to purchase and donate automated external defibrillators, or AEDs, to local organizations.

Hamlin’s collapse during a primetime game not only shocked spectators but also those in charge of National Football League franchises.

“The impact of Hamlin’s cardiac arrest and recovery caused us to reflect and take action in our community,” Packers president/CEO Mark Murphy said.

Especially because most cardiac events that occur every day in the U.S. don’t happen with medical staff on standby.

“Unfortunately, patients who don’t receive care immediately don’t end up with a good experience,” Murphy said.

“Ninety percent of people who have cardiac arrest outside of a hospital will die,” Dr. Sumit Ringwala, a Bellin cardiologist, said.

But hands-on CPR and AEDs can help buy precious time for emergency responders to arrive. The devices deliver a shock that stop the heart, allowing the brain to restore the heartbeat to its natural rhythm.

“AEDs are critical tools for surviving cardiac arrest,” Dr. Ringwala said.

It’s those life-saving tools the Packers and Bellin Health hope to provide to more locations in the community with the announcement of a $100,000 donation.

“I believe we will be able to purchase 80 donated to schools and rec sports leagues and facilities in Wisconsin,” Murphy said.

The Packers and Bellin Health are still working out the criteria to determine what organizations will be eligible to apply for an AED, but we’re told it will happen this year.

There will also be mandatory training for the organizations receiving the donated AEDs.

“Defibrillators are great, but we want to make sure they don’t sit in a closet and never get used, so training will be a great part,” Murphy said.

Murphy also hopes to extend AED and CPR training to the public by offering a large-scale training session at Lambeau Field in the coming months.