WACO, Texas — Helping an athlete immediately after they have suffered an injury becomes second nature.
If the player goes down suffering from cardiac arrest, like Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin did Monday night, every second is critical to get the heart back pumping.
A former student at Live Oak Classical School dealt with the same issue two years ago.
Coach Steven Howard, head girls’ basketball coach, says unfortunately more athletes, especially youth ones, are dealing with these issues.
After seeing one of his players go down, Howard preaches the importance of CPR and how to use an AED.
Howard was at a loss for words when Leah Stephenson went down during a November 2020 game.
Leah suffered cardiac arrest. Athletic trainers and other medical professionals rushed to perform CPR, then grabbed the automated external defibrillator or AED to restore her heartbeat.
After the hit Damar Hamlin took this week, Howard says it pushes safety to the forefront once again, no matter the athlete or sport.
"It only must happen one time for it to really drive home," Howard said. "So you can believe we always take an AED with us now to every football game, to every basketball game we always ask when we get to a school, where’s your AED?”
Every school in Texas required to have and AED nearby and at least one person trained on how to use it.
Howard also encourages everyone to know where it is at a sporting event in case of an emergency.