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The NFL star previously partnered with the American Heart Association to educate people about how to safely perform CPR.
Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin visited Capitol Hill Wednesday to ask lawmakers to support legislation that would provide access to automated external defibrillators (AEDs) in schools, The Huffington Post reported.
The move comes after Hamlin suffered cardiac arrest during a Monday Night Football game against the Cincinnati Bengals in January. Millions of NFL fans watched a defibrillator and CPR being used on the field to save him.
“I’m still trying to process all the emotions, the trauma, that comes from dealing with a situation like that,” Hamlin told Michael Strahan of “Good Morning America” last month, People Magazine reported.
In February, Hamlin partnered with the American Heart Association to educate people about safely performing CPR.
During Hamlin’s visit to Capitol Hill on March 29, U.S. Senators Cory Booker (D-N.J) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), and U.S. Representatives Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick (D-Fla.) and Bill Posey (R-Fla.), along with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), introduced the Access to AEDs Act, a “legislation that would promote students’ access to automated external defibrillators (AEDs) in public elementary and secondary schools,” HuffPost reported.
Hamlin told lawmakers that “sudden cardiac arrest happens to more than 7,000 kids under the age of 18 every year in our country.”
“The majority of the kids impacted are student-athletes. Research shows that 1 in every 300 youth has an undetected heart condition that puts them at risk,” he continued.
The Access to AEDs Act would award “grants to elementary and secondary schools partnered with a nonprofit healthcare organization to develop and implement a comprehensive program to promote defibrillation access and training,” per the news release.
“For schools that have AEDs, the survival rate for the children from sudden cardiac arrest is seven times higher,” Hamlin said. “The Access to AEDs Act will help ensure that schools are just as prepared and trained to respond in a time of crisis as those on the sideline of an NFL game.”
There are only 23 states that have AED school requirements. Scripps News research found that American schools are unprepared for sudden cardiac arrest incidents. Hamlin’s near-death episode reportedly led to a push to increase equipment and training.
“We see so many students who have cardiac arrests on the field, and the first instinct for everyone is panic,” Cherfilus-McCormick said Wednesday. “The truth of the matter is we’re not having annual trainings, we’re not having enough AED machines at schools. Our goal today is to make sure we’re normalizing heart health and life-saving access to AEDs.”
Schumer said this bill would provide the equipment and the training at schools across the nation. He reportedly pledged to get the bill passed this year.
Hamlin also met with President Joe Biden on March 30 while in Washington D.C., the Associated Press reported. That afternoon, Biden tweeted a photo of the two of them sitting in the Oval Office at the White House with the caption: “Damar Hamlin’s courage, resilience, and spirit inspired the American people. And what’s more: he turned recovery into action – and our country is better for it. It was my honor to have him and his family here today.”
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