Radio traffic crackled moments after Buffalo Bills defensive back Damor Hamlin collapsed to the ground in Cincinnati on Monday night.

“I don’t like how he went down,” one man said on a channel that appeared to include medical personnel on shore.

Seconds later, as the seriousness of Hamlin’s condition became apparent, another man was more forceful.

“We’ll need everybody,” he declared. The “all-call, all-call” equivalent of Red Alert.

The first person cuts in: “Call, get everybody. We need an airway doctor, everybody. Bring the cot doctors along.”

The pleas were captured in a recording posted on a publicly available website that tracks emergency radio traffic. They marked some of the first urgent moments of emergency response to the deadly crisis that rocked the NFL and stunned fans at Pecor Stadium and millions watching “Monday Night Football.” For about half an hour at the stadium, a small army of doctors, athletic trainers and emergency workers rushed to rescue Hamlin, who went into cardiac arrest after being hit in the chest while tackling a Cincinnati Bengals receiver.

On Thursday afternoon, doctors at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center said Hamlin was “awake and breathing,” and although he could not speak because of his breathing tube, he asked in writing that the game between the Bills and Bengals be played. Who had won

The NFL, the Bills and Hamlin’s family have not said with certainty what caused the 24-year-old’s heart to stop, although the league’s chief medical officer, Dr. Allen Sills, said this week that it was “certain.” possibly” because of a blow to the chest. But pictures, videos and audio recordings of emergency workers talking to radio stations illustrate the seriousness of Hamlin’s condition and the efforts to keep him alive.

For example, at 9:20 p.m., someone calls a colleague looking for an attachment that measures carbon dioxide levels.

One person replied, “We have a second monitor.”

The first person replies emphatically: “I need end-tidal CO2 now according to the doctor.”

When he’s told that equipment, which helps measure how well a patient is breathing, is on the way, he barks back: “Yeah, you need to step it up.”

The first minutes in Cincinnati provided a window into how the NFL prepared for an episode at Pecor Stadium — a crisis that those around football privately saw as inevitable and hoped would never come. The NFL and its teams, managers of a violent sport that hinges on frequent confrontations but brings in billions of dollars, ensure dozens of medical personnel are present in each game. Those men undergo extensive training so that they can follow detailed protocols, some of which are mandated by the league’s collective bargaining agreement.

A so-called airway management doctor was on hand Monday to help keep Hamlin alive. A specialist in emergency medicine or anesthesiology, the doctor is there when a player stops breathing and needs intubation, and can be identified by a red hat along with a handful of other medical specialists. By the time Hamlin was wheeled onto the field in an ambulance on Monday, he had received CPR and restarted his heart, according to the Bills.

“There’s an old joke: If you’re going to have cardiac arrest, have it in an airport or a football stadium,” said Dr. Rob Glatter. Emergency Medicine Physician at Lenox Hill Hospital who worked the sidelines at Jets home games for five seasons. “If you’re on the edge and you go down, if you’re a photographer, your chances of survival increase dramatically because of all the experts and equipment you have with you.”

According to the NFL, there are about 30 trainers, doctors and other specialists available for the games. Some, such as trainers, orthopedists and primary care physicians, are associated with teams. They are assisted by neurotrauma consultants who primarily treat concussions, paramedics, dentists, ophthalmologists and an airway management physician.

Many of them communicate with hand-held radios. On game days, NFL stadiums are a mesh of communications networks that serve everyone from radio and television broadcasters to coaches wearing headsets to emergency responders. The New York Times found the broadcast about Hamlin on a public website that records radio traffic from emergency frequencies. The time stamp on the recordings matched the sequence of events that played out on and off the field in Cincinnati, helping to confirm their authenticity.

It was often a spur-of-the-moment reaction. Emergency crews explained the decision to postpone the game, requisitioned supplies and called for escorts to the hospital and, in one instance, to have Bill’s doctor arrive at the airport so he could join the team for their flight home. Can join

About two minutes after the ambulance carrying Hamlin rolled off the field, radio traffic captured a call stating that emergency crews needed assistance inside the vehicle.

“I need another medicine in the back,” someone is heard saying. “We’re right out the gate,” he adds a few moments later.

According to radio broadcasts, local law enforcement officials expected ambulances to depart the stadium immediately. But according to radio traffic, the ambulance did not leave for the hospital until 9:23 pm. After more than 10 minutes it went off the field. At least one news report stated that officials wanted to wait for Hamlin’s mother before leaving the stadium, but radio traffic indicated that she went to a separate hospital.

The NFL declined to explain the apparent delay, but doctors who have worked NFL games said it was possible that Hamlin had additional complications in the ambulance. If, say, the breathing tube was damaged, emergency personnel would want to fix it while the ambulance was parked, not while driving over potentially rough roads. The ambulance, he said, could be equipped as an emergency room.

“Once the pulse comes back, you want to transport him as quickly as possible,” said emergency medicine physician Dr. Glatter. “Sometimes, they delay transport if a patient collapses. This can happen if a paramedic holds the driver down until he is more stable.”

In the NFL’s decision, Monday’s emergency and its consequences proved simultaneously horrifying and correct, evidence that detailed planning can — just might — limit football’s fallout.

An orthopedic surgeon at Washington University in St. Louis, Dr. Matthew Mattawa, who was the Rams’ head team doctor until they moved to Los Angeles in 2016, said the league’s preparation for such emergencies was “incredibly thorough”.

He said, however, that doctors, athletic trainers and others involved in emergency planning often focus their attention on injuries that occur in any NFL game: hamstring ruptures, ligament tears, concussions and so on. Although rehearsals and meetings routinely cover the potential for a cardiac emergency, Dr. Mattawa said, “As far as the most common injuries we’re going to think about, it’s not the top one, two or three things. “

Teams, however, are still concerned, and sometimes devote time in the preseason to rehearsing what to do in cases of cardiac arrest.

“We get down to the details: how do you access the chest, how do you unfasten the jersey and shoulder pads, when do you remove the helmet and shoulder pads, who is doing CPR, who is applying the defibrillator pads,” Said Dr. Jonathan A. Drezner, a team doctor for the Seattle Seahawks and director of the Center for Sports Cardiology at the University of Washington. “These are all the fine details we discuss and hope we never have to live in real time.”

Although the league and its players’ union have long anticipated cardiac emergencies in players, the mandate for an airway specialist is relatively new, given the recognition of football’s risks and its dangers.

Other professional leagues have experienced similar crises. In 1998, Dr. Mattawa helped treat St. Louis Blues guard Chris Pronger after a puck hit his chest and his heart stopped. Pronger, who survived, suffered commotio cordis, in which a severe blow to the chest at a precise moment in the heart’s rhythm can cause it to stop beating.

“It’s not much, but when, you’re dealing with emergency preparedness for sports injuries like this, especially with the number of collisions and the force associated with NFL football,” Dr. Matawa said.

Dmitry Khavin and Annara Tiefenthaler contributed to the production. dahlia kozlowski Contributed to research.



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