What could have happened to Damar Hamlin? And what will the impact be on teammates?

BOWLING GREEN, Ky.-Damar Hamlin is fighting for his life at only 24-years-old.

“The longer the brain is without blood flow and oxygen, the more likely the patient might incur brain damage,” said Tara Mudd, who works at Norton Heart and Vascular Institute.

Hamlin went in for a tackle against Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins. Hamlin stood up momentarily then fell down.

There is no formal diagnosis yet, but because CPR and AED was used, doctors believe it could be commotio cordis…an extremely rare phenomenon.

“This condition, commotio cordis, which is essentially Latin for agitation of the heart, is a condition where the chest wall itself undergoes trauma and causes disruption to the heart’s electrical wiring,” said Mudd.

There could also be a possibility he had an underlying diagnosis, that was brought about by the tackle.

“Kind of unearthing things that may not have been known in the past, looking at is there something structurally that made them more predisposed to this condition,” said Mudd.

Teammates and opposing team players watched distraughtly, just mere feet away from Hamlin.

“There’s gonna be trauma there that needs to be unpacked and worked on for sure,” said UK Associate Professor of Sports Psychology Dr. Marc Cormier.

Dr. Cormier says teammates will need support, even therapy after witnessing the event. Some may even wonder about continuing to play.

“I think a common thing that might be running through their head is what if this happens to me? This was a very routine hit, this was not an illegal tackle, this was within the confines of the rules,” said Dr. Cormier.

There is one thing doctors urge people to take away from this critical situation.

“If you do not know CPR, learn CPR. And pay attention to where your AEDs are in any scenario you are in. Your grocery store, doctor’s office, just being aware of those things really can help save someone’s life,” said Mudd.