On Monday night, I was watching Monday Night Football when Buffalo Bills Safety Damar Hamlin collapsed following an open field tackle. I figured he’d be back up in a few minutes and on the sideline for medical evaluation. My mind flashed back to another Monday Night Football game in which Denver Broncos Wide Receiver Ed McCaffrey broke his leg while making a reception for a first down. It was the biggest news in Colorado and promised to be the lead story, if not the only story the next day. Events thousands of miles away completely overshadowed any mention of football on that September 11, 2001 morning.
Concern increased as care continued to be rendered for Damar Hamlin. Players from both teams knelt in prayer as an ambulance pulled out onto the field. Reports came in of CPR being administered to Hamlin, which only happens when a person’s heart has stopped.
Commentators repeatedly stated that this has never happened before in the history of football. At our house, we were all thinking of similar events that have happened in Fairbanks and across the country when young people, often high school age, collapse and die suddenly at sporting events. The point isn’t that this doesn’t happen, the point is to be prepared for when it does.
Many trained and fully equipped emergency medical professionals were present at the Cincinnati Bengals stadium on Monday night. Equipment was also present including AEDs (Automated External Defibrillators). I have been trained and certified in CPR and AEDs several times over the years. Although AEDs are becoming more common, they still are not present in many places. On a similar note, tourniquets are not widely distributed for emergency use when needed. AEDs and tourniquets are very seldom used, but when either is needed, nothing comes close to their effectiveness.
What can you take away from this article? First, a reminder of the value and fragile nature of life. A person can appear completely healthy one moment and be gone the next. Second, I encourage you to schedule a time for you and your friends, co-workers, church members, etc., to get trained in CPR & AEDs. Call the American Red Cross at (907) 456-5937 for training. The life saved may be your own. Finally, pray for Damar Hamlin, his family, and teammates. Pray as well for all who have lost a loved one way too soon.
Being a Christian is about more than just church attendance and Bible Studies. It is about making a difference in the world around you through your faith and actions. Get the training and equipment so that you can help in a crisis.
Happy New Year.
Pastor, St. Paul Christian Church on Farmers Loop next to Mushers Hall
Chaplain, Police and Fire
Insight is sponsored by TVCC
Printed in the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner on January 6, 2023
Married 27 years, 2 kids, 1 cat and 1 dog. Ordained & Chaplain for 20 years. Ministry philosophy - we're all in this together and Jesus leads the way. Hobbies: working in the woodshed, teaching, and competitive shooting