At a New Year’s Eve party, someone asked me if I knew CPR, and I shamefully said “No, I don’t.” 

The person I was speaking to told me how important it is to know how to administer CPR. “I saved three people with CPR,” the person told me. “I say that because it shows how important it is.” 

We know CPR is important; it’s something we grew up with as common knowledge that CPR saves lives, but I had no idea how hard that reality would hit me until we were watching the Buffalo Bills take on the Cincinnati Bengals.

After making a tackle on Tee Higgins for the Bengals, the Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin stood up and then suddenly collapsed. 

I am not going to share that video of the collapse, because I don’t think anybody needs to see that. It’s scary, and it’s not appropriate to share. 

The fall caught everybody off-guard, but the reactions from teammates and coaching staff told us that this must be a serious injury. 

The Official NFL Statement

Adam Schefter shared the official statement from the NFL in regards to the Bills-Bengals game. 

“Hamlin received immediate medical attention on the field by team and independent medical staff and local paramedics. He was then transported to a local hospital where he is in critical condition.”

Fortunately, the paramedics were able to get to Hamlin quickly and administer CPR immediately. 

CPR is something that I think everyone will agree is important to learn, but how many people actually know CPR?

How Many People Know CPR?

According to the American Heart Association (AHA), 65% of people in the United States say they have received CPR training at some point in their lives, but that doesn’t mean they are up to date on the training. Only 18% of people are up to date on their CPR training.

Admittedly, I have never learned how to administer CPR, and I am ashamed to say that, because it’s time we all do. 

Why It's Important To Know CPR (And To Administer It Quickly)

The chairman for the Cardiovascular Medicine at Cleveland Clinic, Steve Nissen M.D., talked about the importance of administering CPR quickly. 

“When someone is suffering from cardiac arrest,” Nissen said. “Time is not on their side. Immediate CPR can be the difference between life and death, doubling or even tripling a person’s chance of survival.”

Fortunately, it is a skill that can be easily learned, and it should be. 

How Often Does Cardiac Arrest Happen?

Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) can happen to anyone, anywhere. In 2020, the Sudden Cardiac Foundation looked at their statistics on SCA, and they found that nearly 1,000 people per day suffer from SCA, while only 10% typically survive, which is why knowing how to perform CPR is so important when it comes to saving someone’s life. 

What Is Cardiac Arrest?

When cardiac arrest occurs, the heart stops pumping blood to your body and you are no longer breathing normally. Depending on how long you are experiencing the cardiac arrest, it can cause permanent damage to the brain. Without proper blood flow, the brain can suffer damage in as few as three minutes, according to Rod Brouhard, EMT.  Nine minutes without blood flow to the brain can cause permanent, everlasting damage. Performing CPR on someone in need will help to keep the blood flowing and may minimize the damage to the victim. 

The quicker someone can respond to a person suffering from cardiac arrest, the quicker the recovery will be for the victim. After receiving CPR, a person may return to breathing on their own with minimal side effects. 

Without the CPR, the outcome could look a lot different. 

How Can CPR Save Someone?

Knowing how to administer CPR may help you save a family member or a loved one. You just never know what can happen in the comfort of your own home. Recent data shows that most cardiac arrests actually occur at home, with 70% of cardiac arrests recorded to have happened at a victim’s home.  Knowing the proper technique for CPR can empower you to take action and provide life-saving aid when and where a loved one needs it. 

Learning CPR also makes schools safer, which makes me wonder why they don’t teach the proper CPR training in school. And did you know that sudden cardiac arrest is one of the leading causes of death on school campuses? One in 25 high schools will see a SCA event every year, according to the American College of Cardiology

When you read that, it really makes you wonder how many of the teachers and faculty at your kid’s schools know the proper technique for CPR. 

Would your kid be safe if it happened to them? Would your coworkers be able to save you if it happened to you at work? And could you save one of your parents if it happened to them at home?

I’d rather know that I could, and that’s why I’m learning CPR. 

You should, too. 

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