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  • Writer's pictureRob Mullen

"The Injury Report" with Dr. Bruce (Commotio Cordis extended edition)

Updated: Feb 18, 2023

Hey, is it the weekend already???? The week has flown by and it's time for another "Injury Report" where we are going to take a deeper dive into Commotio Cordis and get more feedback from both of us regarding not just those who are at risk but also more thought related towards 'awareness' and 'prevention'.

As well as it's relation to the NFL now that the football world is aware of Damar Hamlin's situation and others in so many related Sporting Activities our followers are involved in.

And it was amazing to see the NFL Honor the First Responders before kickoff of the Super Bowl, who all had significant impacts to Damar Hamlin and what took place that Monday Night on PayCor Field. It was truly refreshing to see the recognition towards not only the First Responders on hand, but the staff at the University of Cincinnati Hospital who cared for Damar above and beyond what was done to save his life on the field.

It brings "Awareness" to Commotio Cordis once again and the fact that each of those honored played a significant role in the outcome of Damar being with us today.

As a Healthcare Professional yourself, would you kindly reflect on the recognition given before kickoff and what each of their roles mean to you as a practicing Doctor who cares for others on a daily basis:

Bruce: " I'll try to keep this brief.

I thought it was great that the medical teams were recognized on the biggest of stages in the Super Bowl.

The medical teams are present at every game, in every stadium, throughout the season....for a reason and they are not there any other reason or for honors, but ever present in case of an emergency.

Their response on that Monday night was practiced and worked to perfection to save which I am certain and pretty sure most would have some major anxiety performing life saving measures in front of the 70,000 fans there and tens of millions on TV.

Despite the added pressure they did their jobs and saved his life.

Without teams like them, the game would be much less safer....much like the communities of EMS First Responders that do the same day after day with little fanfare or honors.

Those in our communities as well deserve recognition and support from the communities since they are the ones who will be there for them...."

Very well said Dr. Bruce and couldn't agree more.

I can honestly tell you that what happened to Damar impacted my thought process deeply that Monday fact, I remember distinctly texting back and forth with you during the game as to the speculation of what might actually be happening on the field when Damar collapsed.

Yet afterwards....learning how Commotio Cordis actually plays out for many of our youth actively involved in Sports in general. And learning that it's a greater percentage than I ever would of assumed, much less the fact that the average age of Commotio Cordis victims is only 14 years of age. Simply because their chest muscles, bones, and tissue are underdeveloped in their youth, that a sudden impact at the wrong time (or right time) could lead to a disturbance in their heart rhythms, leading to Cardiac Arrest.

And to me, it almost seems as if the NFL has a unique opportunity here to bring awareness to Commotio Cordis for the families of fans and children in regards to "safety" and "prevention".

Although rare....Commotio Cordis can happen and Damar Hamlin is proof on the biggest of stages, as an example and again, well deserved recognition to the First Responders and those in charge of the care for Damar.

In this regard Dr. Bruce, how do you feel about 'awareness' and increased protection for todays players in the NFL and the bigger question being "Does the NFL have a responsibility for protecting the players now that we've all been awoken to the realities of Commotio Cordis?"

Dr. Bruce: "Commotio Cordis is so rare there is little the NFL can do to alter the risk to players.

The current equipment will continue to be modified to protect players from risk of injury. And the increase in awareness of serious injury to players is important for fans to understand some of the rule changes that have been made in the past and will be made in the future.

More importantly, with the increased awareness, there should be changes made to protect players at other levels of the sport and other sports.

The NFL could sponsor CPR training in High School or at the collegiate level, as well as help increase the number of AED's (defibrillators) that are typically available at Pee-Wee, High School, and Collegiate level sporting events.

Let's see if the current level of concern leads to continued support by the league for training and equipment needed to help communities and athletes at all levels."

I'm hoping for a rather quick response from the NFL in this me, they have an opportunity to Champion the cause and become a leader in the forefront of 'prevention', if not in the very least 'awareness'.

And to your suggestion of "increasing the number of AED's" available at Sporting events....a recent statistic proves this fact to be vital as the survival rate of children and adults has significantly increased from 15% to 35% over the past decade simply by having AED's readily available.

And btw....Pennsylvania, as of yesterday, passed a law requiring AED's be available at ALL sporting events whether amateur or professional and most certainly at all of their school systems in Honor of Damar Hamlin's ties to the City of Pittsburgh.

Like most....I never want to see this happen on the field again and we are all aware now that it can at any given moment.

Even more thoughtful of the impact is how this could change the future careers of young athletes across the nation who love the game and aspire to one day play football in the NFL....change in such a way where parents are restricting their children's activities and participation in 'contact' Sports.

Just imagine the impact that would have on all Sports....

In conclusion....please give us a bit more of your perspective Dr. Bruce on the topic of Commotio Cordis and we look forward to the next edition of "The Injury Report:

(Final Thoughts from Dr. Bruce) Bruce: "I would sincerely hate to see this event lead to parents stopping their children from playing football or other 'contact' Sports.

Football has become a much safer sport than in the past and players form lifelong friendships with their teammates. Learning good 'Sportsmanship' and discipline needed for a successful team leads to improved feelings of self-respect and builds confidence in skills needed for success in life.

Lastly, I would make a final statement to request people to go and get proper CPR Training and if possible, financially support local EMS Services in our communities.

They will save yours or someone else's life close to you...."

This concludes our extended edition regarding Commotio Cordis and invite you to please scroll down below all the way to the bottom of the page to leave your comments and questions for Dr. Bruce.

He'd be happy to take your questions or simply just hear from you!

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Rob Mullen
Rob Mullen
Feb 18, 2023

And the link for the Buffalo Region: Search | Classes, Products, Articles | Red Cross


Rob Mullen
Rob Mullen
Feb 18, 2023

Here's a link for Rochester-based CPR classes: Search | Classes, Products, Articles | Red Cross

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