Buffalo Bills safety Damar hamlin said that when he was a child he didn't think about CPR, or where an automated external defibrillator could be found.
The NFL player, who collapsed and went into cardiac arrhythmia during a match in January, shared his knowledge at an event held on Capitol Hill.
Every year, more than 7,000 children under 18 years old in the United States suffer a sudden cardiac arrest. Research shows that one in 300 children has an undiagnosed heart condition, which puts them at high risk. Hamlin stated that the survival rate of children who suffer sudden cardiac arrest in schools with AEDs is seven times greater.
Hamlin, along with Reps. Sheila Cherfilus McCormick, D. Fla., and Bill Posey R. Fla., highlighted the Access to AEDs Act (a bipartisan US House bill introduced this week). Cherfilus McCormick, a Florida Democrat, said that the bill would create a grant program for schools to help them purchase AEDs and maintain them, improve CPR training, and develop plans to deal with cardiac emergencies.
Hamlin stated that the Access to AEDs Act would help to ensure that schools were as well-prepared and trained to respond to a crisis as the people on the sidelines at an NFL match.
Matthew Mangine Sr. was also at the event. He lost his son Matthew Jr. in 2020.
The teenager, a soccer-player at St. Henry High School, Erlanger, Kentucky collapsed on the soccer pitch during practice due to sudden cardiac arrest.
There were five AEDs located on campus but no one used them to treat Matthew because of a lack in training. The coach never received an emergency plan and was not told where to find the closest AED, which was only 250 feet away. By the time the ambulance arrived it was already too late. Mangine stated that they had lost their beautiful firstborn child.
Posey says that people often discover heart conditions too late and this is a way to make a difference.
He said, 'There are many ways young people can be killed, but there are very few ways we can get involved to prevent these deaths.
Hamlin didn't discuss his football future on Wednesday, but told "Good Morning America" that he was 'doing well' physically but is still 'working through things' emotional.
Hamlin's cardiac arrest was not determined. However, Dr. Thom Mayer of the NFL Players Association said that Hamlin would 'play professional football again' last month.
Hamlin also has partnered with American Heart Association to raise CPR awareness.
In a statement, the CEO of the association, Nancy Brown, said that the bill would make schools more prepared to deal with sudden cardiac arrests and help save lives.
The NFL announced on Monday the Smart Heart Sports Coalition. This is a joint initiative with other professional sport leagues, American Heart Association, and American Red Cross, to promote emergency plans, AEDs that are easily accessible, and CPR/AED training for high school coaches.
In a video shown at the event on Wednesday, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell stated that the league was also proud to be supporting the Access to AEDs Act.
Hamlin said that Hamlin's return to health was a source of inspiration. He also stated that the coalition and legislation 'will no doubt save the lives of countless young athletes in future'.
He added, 'We are looking forward to this bill being signed into law as quickly as possible.