Local cardiologist explains Damar Hamlin's collapse

Feb 2, 2023

WORCESTER, Mass. - The shocking circumstances of Buffalo Bills player Damar Hamlin's sudden collapse during Monday night's game against the Cincinnati Bengals may have some wondering how a young, healthy athlete can suffer sudden cardiac arrest.

Cardiologist Dr. Richard Wholey, who works at Saint Vincent Hospital in Worcester, said Hamlin most likely suffered from commotio cordis, which happens when a blunt trauma to the chest takes place.

Wholey said when a blow causes trauma to the heart, it disrupts the electrical cycle and can potentially make the heart stop and go into stand still. He said thankfully, crews were on site and able to provide CPR.

"The heart goes into a serious arrhythmia," Wholey said. "It's not effectively able to pump blood to the body. The defibrillator delivers electrical current that resets the electrical impulses back to normal rhythm."

Wholey said defibrillators are important to have on stand-by and can help in situations like this.

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