URBANA, Ill., (WCIA) — When someone’s experiencing cardiac arrest, the American Heart Association said immediate CPR can double or triple someone’s chances of living.
It’s clear after Damar Hamlin, Buffalo Bills safety, collapsed on the field during Monday Night Football versus the Cincinnati Bengals that quick thinking can save lives.
Hamlin is now breathing on his own, but the outcome could’ve been very different without medical professionals’ fast actions.
Lt. Jason Bradley with the University of Illinois Police Department knows firsthand how important it is to act fast. Many now consider him a hero after responding to a call on campus in June 2021.
When responding, Bradley knew it was a big problem because Vinh Nguyen, a U of I Facilities and Servies employee, was turning blue, his eyes were rolling toward the back of his head and he was unresponsive. Other F&S employees were helping until Bradley arrived.
“By the time I got there, they said ‘here’s what we’re doing. He’s not breathing,'” Bradley said.
He didn’t hesitate to get the Automated External Defibrillator (AED) out of his squad car and start chest compressions, helping out the other employees already there.
“I got a shock on the AED before even the ambulance and fire truck showed up,” Bradley added.
His quick thinking kept Nguyen alive.
Jordan Meeks, pediatric wellness specialist with OSF Healthcare, said actions like that save people. Chest compressions help move blood throughout the body.
“If someone is sitting for two, three, four minutes without anybody helping them, or if you get in there because you remember this skill, and you’re able to do the compressions, you’re giving them far more chance of survival than there being nothing being done while you’re waiting for those emergency responders to get there,” Meeks said.
She added that it’s best to be prepared because you never know when a medical emergency could happen.
“We taught it to a 15-year-old boy and within the next few months, he was at home and his little brother, who I believe was 11 or 12 and had no underlying conditions, went into cardiac arrest,” she said.
It can happen to anyone no matter the age. A dispatcher will walk you through the steps on the phone, but it’s also important to know them yourself.
Meeks said it starts by calling 911, beginning chest compressions as soon as possible, getting an AED and continuing the compressions until help arrives.
In the end, Bradley is thankful for his hours of training, and that he could help Nguyen.
“When something pays off like this, it does feel really good that you were able to make a difference,” Bradley said.
He earned the “Life Saving Award” through the department for his actions in June 2021.
Meeks said since Hamlin experienced cardiac arrest on the football field, more people have shown interest in her CPR classes.
If you’re interested in learning, you can sign up for her Hands-Only CPR class here.
The American Red Cross and American Heart Association also offer regular classes.