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Damar Hamlin speaks at Capitol Hill to introduce Access to AEDs Act 

Damar Hamlin speaks in Washington, D.C. in support of the Access to AEDs Act on March 29, 2023. Photo by Chelsea Haybarger.
Damar Hamlin speaks in Washington, D.C. in support of the Access to AEDs Act on March 29, 2023. Photo by Chelsea Haybarger.

Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin is on a mission to help save lives. 

In Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, Hamlin — along with U.S. Representative Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick and American Heart Association CEO Nancy Brown — helped introduce a new bipartisan legislation called "Access to AEDs Act". 

Should the bill pass, the Access to AEDs Act would increase the training and availability of AEDs (automated external defibrillator) on school campuses. Grants would be given to elementary and secondary schools to develop and implement a comprehensive program to promote students' access to defibrillation in their schools.

Hamlin — joined by his younger brother Damir and two younger cousins — spoke at Wednesday's introduction of the bill at Capitol Hill about the importance the bill could have in helping save lives from SDC (Sudden Cardiac Arrest). 

"We are so humbled and inspired by what I feel is the opportunity that God has given me to help and protect young people based on what I experienced," Hamlin said. "The Access to AEDs Act will help ensure that schools are just as prepared and trained to respond in a time of crisis as those on the sideline in an NFL game."

More than 7,000 youth under 18 suffer from sudden cardiac arrests annually in the United States, with student-athletes being more than 3.5 times as likely to experience SCA than non-athletes, according to the American Heart Association. 

Hamlin said that if the bill were to pass, not only will the grants allow schools to purchase AED kits but will also ensure schools are prepared and properly trained to respond to cardiac emergencies in a timely manner. 

"Combined, these efforts will help protect kids and reduce deaths in schools across the country," Hamlin shared.

"Around the world, people have come together to focus on this need and I am amazed and encouraged by what we can do together."

After Hamlin spoke, a video from NFL commissioner Roger Goodell played to voice support for the bill.

"On behalf of the National Football League, we are proud to join Damar Hamlin and a broad coalition of sports leagues and health advocacy groups in support of the Access to AEDs Act," Goodell said. 

In addition to backing the proposed bill, the NFL is starting a nationwide campaign to ensure all high schools have access to AEDs, according to Goodell.

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