Another Myth Debunked by Scientific Fact

Online and media theories have blamed Damar Hamlin’s recent football mid-game cardiac arrest on COVID-19 vaccines, showing that medical misinformation remains rampant among the general public. Nothing could be further from the truth and more damaging to general welfare!



Commotio cordis (Latin, “agitation of the heart”) is an often lethal disruption of heart rhythm that occurs, resulting from a blow to the area directly over the heart at a critical time during the cycle of heart rhythm, actually during early relaxation after each beat. This can rarely lead to “ventricular fibrillation,” i.e., complete disorganization of the heart’s pumping function. In this case, it was not an event caused by underlying heart disease. Over a period of assessment from 2006–12, the survival rate to this problem was 58 percent, which was an improvement over the years 1993–2006 when only 34 percent of victims survived. This increase in salvage is likely due to prompt cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), including access to defibrillation, which was clearly demonstrated in this instance.

Although commotio cordis occurs mostly in boys and young men (average age 15), usually during sports and most frequently resulting from a baseball strike to the chest, as demonstrated by Hamlin’s case, it may be caused by any projectile or blow, such as a shoulder or other body part. I am aware of at least one case that followed a hockey puck strike during a game.

Although the final analysis of this individual sequence is not yet clear, it is quite evident that prompt resuscitation can be credited with Hamlin’s survival. Whether he should continue playing football is another controversial issue, but if I were in his situation, I would not!

But above all, do not blame COVID or vaccination!


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