Millions watched live as NFL player Damar Hamlin collapsed from a sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) during a recent game. His successful resuscitation is a testament to the emergency preparedness of the personnel on the field that night.
Sudden cardiac arrests (SCA) are the leading cause of death on school campuses, and less than 10% of people who suffer an SCA survive.
While Hamlin benefitted from the world-class medical care provided by the Buffalo Bills, Cincinnati Bengals and the NFL – Lynn Batten, M.D., professor of pediatrics at the Frederick P. Whiddon College of Medicine at the University of South Alabama and a pediatric cardiologist at USA Health, said quick, life-saving action should be available to anyone, anywhere. “Thanks to Project ADAM, it can be,” she added.
Project ADAM is a nationwide initiative that has saved the lives of at least 200 children, adolescents and adults who experience SCA. USA Health Children’s & Women’s Hospital belongs to the Project ADAM South Alabama cohort – an initiative that provides schools with guidance and support on how to minimize the risk of sudden cardiac death in the school setting through CPR and AED, or automated external defibrillator, response planning.
“Hamlin’s story helped shine a national spotlight on the work we are doing right here in our community,” said Batten, who serves as medical director for Project ADAM South Alabama.
Batten works to emphasize the importance of the development of an emergency action plan should an SCA take place. “We believe that every school, athletic field, health club, community center, or anywhere people gather should have an emergency action plan in place and practiced regularly,” she said. “This approach can and will continue to help save lives, as was so beautifully demonstrated on the football field in Cincinnati last Monday night.”
Amy Cockrell, RPh, serves as the Project ADAM South Alabama program coordinator and is the mother of an SCA survivor. “Emergency action plans work,” Cockrell said. “Although we cannot predict when an SCA may strike, we can plan our response. Immediate recognition of SCA, initiation of bystander CPR and the use of an AED can double or triple a person’s chance of survival.”
For more information about resources available in our Gulf Coast region, visit the local Project ADAM South Alabama website at www.usahealthsystem.com/project-adam.