WARREN, Ohio (WKBN) – As thousands watched inside Paycor Stadium and millions more saw it on TV, medical staff and paramedics were at Damar Hamlin’s side within seconds Monday night after the Buffalo Bills safety collapsed and suffered cardiac arrest.

Dr. George Joseph, an electrophysiologist with Steward Health, said it’s still too early to know what caused Hamilin’s heart to stop but says the situation could have occurred to almost anyone at any time.

“It can happen in a grocery store. It can happen in a bank. It can happen anywhere,” Joseph said. “Thankfully, they were quick enough to start CPR and also defibrillate his heart.”

Joseph credits the quick reaction with saving Hamlin’s life. He says for that reason, athletic training teams of all ages and skill levels prepare themselves to handle just about any emergency situation.

“That is very vital that CPR and fibrillation can be done very quickly because otherwise, the chances of surviving are very low,” Joseph said.

He also stresses the importance of learning basic life-saving skills to help others until paramedics can get to you.

“So that when something like this happens at home, they can at least administer CPR and wait for EMS to arrive very quickly,” Joseph said.

Instructors with the American Heart Association and the Red Cross say Monday night’s on-field emergency shows just how important knowing even basic first-aid skills can help save a life.

Both agencies, as well as others, regularly offer training courses in CPR and how to operate Automated External Defibrillators (AED).

AEDs are actually designed for people with no advanced training to operate and provide easy-to-follow instructions for those using them.

“If the person has suffered the collapse is not in tow particular of abnormal heart rhythm, the AEDs are not going to advise to shock, so putting an AED on someone is not going to cause them to automatically receive a shock,” said Erin Hosek, a Red Cross instructor.

Hosek said CPR and basic first aid courses can be taken online for those unable to attend in-person classes.

The AHA recommends remembering the following steps to potentially save a life:

  • Call 911 and keep the phone on speaker
  • Start hands-only CPR by pushing down hard and fast in the center of the person’s chest at a rate of 100 to 120 compressions per minute.
  • Continue compressions until help arrives