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Tipsheet

A Volleyball Player Experienced a Cardiac Episode That Mirrored Damar Hamlin's Scary Injury

AP Photo/Jeff Dean

Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin remains hospitalized in critical condition after a scary cardiac episode had the NFL player fighting for his life. The Bills descended into the Nati to take on the Bengals for Monday Night Football, both teams are already playoff-bound, but Cincinnati was looking to beat Buffalo to clinch the AFC North. Hamlin made a tackle on Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins before collapsing from cardiac arrest. CPR was administered before an ambulance rushed the player to a nearby hospital. Hamlin’s injury has united the entire league around him, and his charity for a toy drive, which had a modest goal of $2,500, has now collected millions of dollars. 

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Why did Hamlin’s heart stop? Speculation abounds for now, but a similar event that occurred to a volleyball player years ago might shine some light on these frightening medical episodes, and yes—it was also captured on film. Like Hamlin, this player, Claire Crawford, just fell to the floor and needed a defibrillator to restore her pulse. The incident occurred in the winter of 2016 in Georgia. At the time, Crawford was only 17 years old (via WSB-TV Atlanta):



A 17-year-old who collapsed and went into cardiac arrest during a volleyball game says she’s alive because those around her knew just what to do.

Claire Crawford’s parents were recording the moment the teen fell to the ground at Loganville Christian Academy. You see the teen serve the ball, then suddenly grab her chest and collapse. 

Staff and coaches at the school rushed to her and immediately went into live-saving mode, calling 911 and grabbing the AED, or automated external defibrillator. 

“I remember slowly going black. I don’t remember hitting the floor so I was our before hitting the floor,” Crawford told Channel 2’s Craig Lucie. 

[…] 

The Crawford family doesn’t have a history of cardiac problems, but Claire says there were symptoms before her heart attack. She says she had pain in her shoulder and had surgery for it, but the burning sensation continued. 

She went to several doctors before the game but not one caught it. It’s still unclear what caused her to go into cardiac arrest. 

“I have no medical history, my wife doesn't have medical history in our families that would cause this you just don't know,” Eric Crawford said. 

Doctors found several unexplained blockages while diagnosing Claire at CHOA. They then sent her to Emory where she underwent a triple bypass surgery. 

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Did Hamlin have such heart defects that went undiagnosed? Was it the impact when he tackled Higgins? Did Hamlin have similar symptoms as Ms. Crawford? Who knows—only Hamlin will be able to answer that once he’s physically able to in due time.


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