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NFL founds coalition to support nationwide CPR education, AED access for student-athletes

Mike Florio and Chris Simms analyze why the final NFL rule proposals didn’t include prohibiting pushing the ball carrier and question if it’s sustainable from a player-safety perspective.

The NFL announced the launch of The Smart Heart Sports Coalition. It is collaborating with the NBA, MLB, MLS, NHL, NCAA, the American Heart Association, American Red Cross, Korey Stringer Institute, National Athletic Trainers’ Association and Damar Hamlin’s Chasing M’s Foundation to advance adoption of life-saving policies for student-athletes.

The NFL Foundation has committed $1 million in grants to support nationwide CPR education and AED access to prevent fatal outcomes from sudden cardiac arrest among high school athletes.

The Smart Heart Sports Coalition sent letters Monday to governors in 43 states that haven’t implemented all three best practice policies: emergency action plans, accessible automated external defibrillators (AEDs) at or near all venues, and CPR and AED education for coaches.

“The simple goal of this effort is to save lives,” Jeff Miller, the NFL’s executive vice president of communications, public affairs and policy, said in a statement. “These common-sense policies are simple, proven steps that are critical for student-athlete safety. Schools in every state should have policies in place to deliver CPR effectively, have immediate access to an AED, and know what to do in case of an emergency. Student athletes deserve it.”

Bills safety Damar Hamlin’s life was saved by medical personnel Jan. 2 when he went into cardiac arrest during a game.

“I’m honored to support the NFL’s work to encourage all 50 states to adopt policies to protect youth,” Hamlin said. “This work pushes forward the idea that every high school should have an athletic emergency plan, coaches should be CPR and AED trained and athletic fields should have clearly marked AEDs within a moment’s reach. These efforts can help save the lives of student athletes impacted by sudden cardiac arrest.”