National football injury sparks conversation regarding proper protection

Erin Patterson, Editor-in-Chief

The world was shocked as emergency personnel and vehicles flooded the Cincinnati Bengals football stadium field on Jan. 3, 2023. Football player, Damar Hamlin, had experienced a hard blow to his chest and his body was sent into commotio cordis-a phenomenon in which a sudden blunt impact to the chest can cause sudden death due to cardiac arrest

This event brought up conversations of what different sports teams or schools are doing to protect athletes and whether there should be an automated external defibrillator (AED) present at all times. At Dulaney, each sports team has a specific plan to respond to possible emergencies. 

Kyle Fiat, head lacrosse coach, said, “Each year we create an emergency action plan, record each coach on staff and what their role is when an emergency happens. The roles would be a coach staying with the athlete, another coach hustling down to open the gate for emergency vehicles, another coach calling 911 and then one bringing the AED, which during all of our home games we have present.”

Maryland Public Schools’ protocol is to have an AED program established and multiple staff personnel trained on usage of the AED. Additionally, more protection has been added to lacrosse players’ uniforms.  

Fiat said, “As of last spring, the shoulder pads all now have a chest plate on them which is required by the high school federation for players to wear.”

 Drew Dannfelser, senior lacrosse player, said, “I have never wanted to stop playing lacrosse because of potential life-threatening injuries. Lacrosse is a contact support and comes with risks, but we are suited with excellent equipment that is very protective. There have been innovations to equipment recently such as newly designed helmets which reduce the threat of injury and are very reassuring.”

London McFarlane, junior soccer, basketball and lacrosse player, agreed that injuries such as commotio cordis are dangerous but have never stopped her from playing her contact sports. 

McFarlane said, “Just [protective equipment] being required is something that makes everyone so much safer.”

As more life-threatening injuries are brought into the spotlight, players and coaches will work together to create the safest playing environment.