ST. LOUIS – Sports figures around the globe are offering support to Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin after he suffered cardiac arrest during the latest Monday Night Football game.
Chris Pronger, a Hall of Fame St. Louis Blues defenseman who dealt with a similar scare 25 years ago, has chimed in with positive vibes.
“Prayers that Damar Hamlin can have the same outcome that I was fortunate to have with my incident. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Damar, his family, teammates and the greater NFL community during this incredibly scary time,” said Pronger on Tuesday via Twitter.
Hamlin is currently in critical condition after he collapsed on the field Monday following a tackle. He was given medical treatment for nearly 20 minutes before being rushed to a hospital. The Bills noted early Tuesday Hamlin is “currently sedated and listed in critical condition.” Monday’s NFL game was suspended after Hamlin’s cardiac arrest.
Pronger suffered cardiac arrest during a Blues playoff game on May 11, 1998 after taking a hard shot to the chest. Pronger credits Blues medical trainer Ray Barile and the Detroit Red Wings medical for swift action in the scary situation.
“In [Hamlin’s] case, they were doing CPR,” said Pronger. “He was in clear distress, not breathing. I think my heart, it just skipped one beat. … There are some similarities, but a lot of things that are not the same.”
After Pronger was treated and removed from the ice, the Blues and Red Wings continued on with the game. Pronger was even cleared to play in Game 3 after wearing a heart monitor for 24 hours and running several tests on his heart.
“I had what is known as commotional quarters,” said Pronger. “I got hit in the heart in between beat, so my heart fought it. It skipped one beat, and that’s how much oxygen is in one heartbeat. And so I went down, passed out, [but] I don’t think I stopped breathing.”
The Blues dealt with another similar scare just a few years ago. On Feb. 11, 2020, veteran defenseman Jay Bouwmeester went into cardiac arrest heading back to the bench in a road game against the Anaheim Ducks.
Athletic trainers from both teams immediately responded, and Bouwmeester eventually received an implantable defibrillator to regulate his heart rhythm. That game was postponed to March, and Bouwmeester has not played in the NHL since the incident.