NKY father, Damar Hamlin urge AED programs in schools nationwide

NKY father, Damar Hamlin urge AED programs in schools nationwide
Published: Mar. 29, 2023 at 4:05 PM EDT|Updated: Mar. 29, 2023 at 8:21 PM EDT
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WASHINGTON, DC (WXIX) - A Kentucky father and Buffalo Bills’ safety Damar Hamlin urged Congress Wednesday to make automated external defibrillators (AED) and AED training programs accessible to schools nationwide.

The Access to AEDs Act will make CPR and AED training programs available to students, staff, and sports volunteers.

According to American Heart Association CEO Nancy Brown, nearly one out of every ten people who suffer from cardiac arrest die before they arrive at a hospital.

“90 percent of the 350,000 people who will suffer an out-of-the-hospital cardiac arrest this year will not survive,” Brown said.

Brown says cardiac arrest is the leading cause of death for kids and teens in America simply because of a lack of AED and CPR knowledge.

That is what Matthew Mangine Sr. says cost his son Matthew Mangine Jr. his life on June 16, 2020.

“There were five AEDs on campus, yet no one retrieved an AED to apply to Matthew due to a lack of proper training, and because the coach was never given an emergency action plan, nor was told where the nearest AED was,” Mangine Sr. said.

Mangine Sr. says an AED was 215 feet away from the soccer field where his son collapsed and later died.

“By the time the ambulance arrived, it was too late. We had already lost our beautiful firstborn son,” he said.

Brown says the Mangines’ story is far too familiar throughout America and says if the AEDs ACT is passed, it will teach schools nationwide four easy steps to save a life: early recognition, calling 911, first responders administering high-quality CPR and access to and using a defibrillator.

The American Heart Association says those steps saved a life on January 2 at Paycor Stadium when Damar Hamlin went into cardiac arrest.

“Thankfully, the medical team with the Buffalo Bills were prepared, and they saved my life,” said Hamlin.

He says it’s time for everyone to have the same medical support he had.

“The access to AEDs Act will ensure that schools are just as prepared as those on the sideline of an NFL game. It will also support the purchase of AEDs for schools and emergency response plans,” Hamlin said.

The legislation would improve access to AEDs in public and private elementary and secondary schools.

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