Damar’s Law introduced to Pennsylvania

Bella Lee, Staff writer

In the wake of the scary collapse and cardiac arrest of Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin on Jan. 2, a Pennsylvania State Senator has introduced a new bill named “Damar’s Law.”  

Damar’s Law would require that Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) be present at any sporting event hosted by a school district in the Commonwealth. “Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) is not only a leading cause of death across the general population in the United States but also the leading cause of death among student-athletes participating in athletic practices and competitions,” said Senator Marty Flynn, who introduced the bill. “During a recent professional football game, we witnessed the harrowing incident of SCA involving Damar Hamlin, a safety for the Buffalo Bills, including the immediate response from trainers and medical personnel. Thankfully, we also have seen him make tremendous strides in his recovery.” 

While most schools already have AEDs on their campuses, Flynn wants to make sure that they’re at all sporting events and that athletic personnel are prepared to use them. “Additionally, all coaches would be required to complete training on the proper use of AEDs. These requirements would ensure that the most critical component to increasing survivability after SCA is addressed: time,” said Flynn. “Damar Hamlin is a reminder that even elite athletes experience SCA. His recovery has been described as ‘miraculous’ by many, though it is undeniable that the immediate response saved his life.” 

Hamlin and the Bills were playing against the Cincinnati Bengals in Paycor Stadium when Hamlin suffered cardiac arrest following a tackle from Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins. As both teams looked on in fear, Hamlin remained on the ground for nearly ten minutes as CPR was administered to him. He was then taken to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, and the matchup between the Bills and the Bengals was postponed and later canceled. An outpouring of support from both sides followed, with Bengals fans standing outside of the hospital in solidarity, Bills wide receiver Stefon Diggs visiting his friend and teammate in the hospital, and most fascinating, the GoFundMe that Hamlin had created back in 2020. Originally with a $2,500 goal to support a toy drive sponsored by Hamlin’s foundation, the Chasing M’s foundation, the fundraiser has now raised $9,046,970 as of this writing, with donations coming from various companies, fellow NFL teams, and their owners, and other athletes such as swimmer Michael Phelps and wrestler Chris Jericho.  

Hamlin was finally released from UC Medical Center on Jan. 9 and was transferred to Buffalo General Medical Center, where he was able to go home on Jan. 11. On Jan. 22, Hamlin was able to watch the playoff game between the Bills and the Bengals at Highmark Stadium, where he was welcomed by the roars and cheering of fans from both sides. While the Bills ultimately lost to the Bengals 27-10, Hamlin received the homecoming he absolutely deserved.  

Super Bowl LVII airs on Feb. 12, and while we’ll have to wait another year to see the Bills have a chance at glory, it’s amazing to see how far Hamlin has come in the past month.