Buffalo Bills football player Damar Hamlin’s on-field collapse expedited SC State Athletic Director Keshia Campbell’s actions.
ORANGEBURG, S.C. – South Carolina State University Athletics already was planning CPR training for coaches and staff, but NFL player Damar Hamlin’s recent on-field collapse spurred the university to action.
“I walked in the door asking our head athletic trainer, David Hart, about CPR training and ensuring that all of our coaches are trained,” SC State Acting Athletics Director Keshia Campbell said, “because I always like to be proactive in case something were to happen.
And following Hamlin’s Jan. 2 collapse on live television, CPR took center stage worldwide. Three days later, SC State coaches and staff members were getting trained.
“We all know now that it was definitely what happened in those immediate moments after the incident that actually saved Hamlin’s life,” Campbell said. “I definitely want our coaches and staff to be in a position to save a life whether it’s a student-athlete or a fan attending our events or anyone on our campus.”
Most of SC State’s coaching staff already had been certified in CPR, and in some cases, their certification had expired. SC State requires all coaches to be certified and encourages other staff members to get trained, as well. Campbell said the university’s football coaches will be trained in another session, because their certification will expire in May.
SC State Head Soccer Coach Liz-Amanda Brown renewed her certification at the Jan. 5 session in Smith Hammond Middleton Memorial Center.
“I actually started CPR training when I was around 13-14 because I was babysitting other children,” said Brown, who took the helm of the soccer program in August. “I think you should always have it from when you are a teenager to when you are an adult. Anybody may need CPR.
“I feel like I am able to protect my athletes even more. Knowing that I have my certification, they can trust me that much more,” Brown said, adding that she hopes SC State can offer training to student-athletes, as well.
The training was facilitated by the CPR ASAP Center in Columbia
“The importance of knowing CPR is to make sure you can help a loved one or anyone that you know restore their heartbeat,” said trainer Emma Paulin. “It’s very important that everyone in your household knows how to perform chest compressions and give two breaths.
“You may know how to perform CPR, but then when you’re the victim, if they do not know, there may be no hope for you. You can save them, but cannot save yourself,” she said.
Paulin said the CPR ASAP Center had received several requests for training in the wake of Hamlin’s resuscitation.
“We need to get into the daycare centers. We especially need to get into the elementary schools because the kids are very active,” Paulin said. “You never know when something like this going to happen. You never know when you will be expected to perform. It usually happens when you least expect it, so it’s better to know than not to know.”
Campbell, who taught CPR in health classes for seven years, echoed those sentiments.
“Anything can happen anywhere. I would encourage anyone who has the breath of life and the ability to perform CPR to get trained in it. It does make a difference,” Campbell said.