ABC Issues Statement on Buffalo Bills Safety Damar Hamlin’s Return to the NFL

WASHINGTONJune 20, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — On behalf of the Association of Black Cardiologists (ABC), we extend our heartfelt well wishes and unwavering support to National Football League (NFL) player Damar Hamlin, who experienced a sudden cardiac event early this year. We recognize the gravity of this event and its impact on him, the NFL community, the country, and the world. Damar’s strength and resilience are commendable, and his dedication to sudden cardiac death awareness is inspiring. While our team members were not directly involved in his evaluation, we agree that a diagnosis of commotio cordis is the most likely if a comprehensive cardiac evaluation was normal. Commotio cordis occurs when there is an untimely, focal, high-velocity impact to the chest wall during a narrow, vulnerable period of the cardiac cycle. This diagnosis is extremely rare, and can occur in a normal heart. The decision regarding the resumption of competitive sports should be predicated upon a meticulous appraisal of Damar’s specific condition, the underlying etiology of the cardiac event, and the potential risks at stake. The ABC ardently advocates for the principles of shared decision-making in sports cardiology, wherein medical professionals collaborate with the athlete, their family, the organization, and a multidisciplinary team to ascertain the safest course of action regarding return-to-play. With appropriate medical care, rehabilitation, and understanding of risk, we support him returning to the NFL if he so wishes.  Additionally, we pray that he receives the full support of the NFL and the nation for his psychological recovery.

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