An open letter to anyone unfamiliar with CPR: You should

At a New Year’s party, someone asked me if I knew about CPR, and I shamefully replied, “No, I don’t.”

The person I was talking to told me how important it is to know how to administer CPR. “I saved three people with CPR,” the person told me. “I say this because it shows how important it is.”

We know CPR is important; It’s something we grew up with as a common knowledge that CPR saves lives, but I had no idea how hard that reality would hit me until we watched the Buffalo Bills take on the Bengals of Cincinnati.

After making a tackle on Tee Higgins for the Bengals, Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin stood up then suddenly collapsed.

I will not share this video of the collapse, because I don’t think anyone needs to see that. It’s scary, and it’s not appropriate to share.

The crash caught everyone off guard, but reactions from teammates and coaching staff told us it must have been a serious injury.

The official statement from the NFL

Adam Schefter has shared the NFL’s official statement regarding the Bills-Bengals game.

“Hamlin received immediate medical attention on the ground from an independent medical team and personnel and local paramedics. He was later transported to a local hospital where he is in critical condition.

Fortunately, paramedics were able to get to Hamlin quickly and administer CPR immediately.

I think everyone would agree that learning CPR is important, but how many people actually know CPR?

How many people know about CPR?

According to American Heart Association (AHA)65% of people in the US say they have taken CPR training at some point in their lives, but that doesn’t mean they’re up to date on the training. Only 18% of people are up to date with their CPR training.

Admittedly, I never learned how to administer CPR, and I’m ashamed to say that, because it’s about time we all did it.

Why It’s Important to Know CPR (and Administer It Quickly)

The chairman of cardiovascular medicine at the Cleveland Clinic, Steve Nissen MD, spoke about the importance of administering CPR quickly.

“When someone is in cardiac arrest,” Nissen said. “Time is not on their side. Immediate CPR can mean the difference between life and death, doubling or even tripling a person’s chances of survival.

Fortunately, it’s a skill that can be easily learned, and it should be.

How often do cardiac arrests occur?

Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) can happen to anyone, anywhere. In 2020, the Sudden Cardiac Foundation looked at their ACS statistics and found that nearly 1,000 people a day suffer from it, while only 10% typically survive, which is why knowing how to perform CPR is so important when it’s about saving someone’s life.

What is cardiac arrest?

When cardiac arrest occurs, the heart stops pumping blood to your body and you no longer breathe normally. Depending on how long the cardiac arrest lasts, it can cause permanent brain damage. Without proper blood flow, the brain can suffer damage in as little as three minutes, according to Rod Brouhard, paramedic. Nine minutes without blood flow to the brain can cause permanent and eternal damage. Performing CPR on a person in need will help maintain blood circulation and may minimize harm to the victim.

The faster a person can respond to someone suffering from cardiac arrest, the faster the recovery will be for the victim. After receiving CPR, a person can start breathing on their own again with minimal side effects.

Without the CPR, the result could be very different.

How can CPR save someone?

Knowing how to administer CPR can help you save a family member or loved one. You never know what can happen in the comfort of your own home. Recent data shows that most cardiac arrests actually occur at home, with 70% of recorded cardiac arrests occurring in the victim’s home. Knowing the proper CPR technique can enable you to take action and provide lifesaving help when and where a loved one needs it.

Learning CPR also makes schools safer, which makes me wonder why they don’t teach proper CPR training in school. And did you know that Sudden cardiac arrest is a leading cause of death on school campuses? One in 25 high schools will see an SCA event each year, according to the American College of Cardiology.

When you read this you really wonder how many teachers and professors in your child’s schools know the proper technique for CPR.

Would your child be safe if this happened to them? Could your colleagues save you if this happened to you at work? And could you save one of your parents if it happened to them at home?

I’d rather know I can, and that’s why I’m learning CPR.

You should too.

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