HARLINGEN, Texas (ValleyCentral) — While Buffalo Bills Safety Damar Hamlin recovers after suffering a cardiac arrest during Monday night’s game against the Cincinatti Bengals, one local school district is reassuring parents they are prepared if a similar emergency happens during school sport functions.
The Pharr-San Juan-Alamo Independent School District says they follow all Texas laws and UIL safety rules during games, which includes CPR training for all coaches and athletic trainers.
“If anybody was watching that game last night, you know, that’s something that you never want to see happen. You know, but it’s always you always have to be prepared for it,” said Jeff Darr, Athletic Trainer Coordinator PSJA ISD.
Darr is just one of the people who saw NFL player Damar Hamlin go into cardiac arrest during a game.
He says his district has multiple automated external defibrillator or AED machines on site to help those experiencing sudden cardiac arrest, and medical staff to take care of any injuries.
They also test athletes with an EKG machine to see if more medical evaluation is needed.
Parents are also provided with information on health risks before playing.
“There are a lot of forms that have to be signed prior to participation. They have to get a physical every year, they have to sign several forms that acknowledge information on steroids, sudden cardiac arrest, concussions,” he said.
The district’s athletic and health services department provide the physicals for students, staff also asks parents if their child has any health or medical needs that they need to be aware of.
“When we do find any, anything that that’s relevant to our athletic department, we work very strongly with them,” said Sulema Solis, PSJA Director of Health Services.
If an athlete does have a medical need, PSJA Health Services will gather more information from medical doctors to find out more about their health conditions
“We work hand in hand and we pride ourselves in the safety of our students,” Solis said.
Darr adds that the district is reviewing their protocols to see if there are any improvements that can be made, to keep athletes safe.