Less than one month after suffering cardiac arrest during Monday Night Football, Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin is parlaying the frightening incident into a critical call for action.
Hamlin announced this week that he is partnering with the American Heart Association to launch the #3forHeart challenge. The social media effort to promote the awareness and practice of CPR involves three simple steps.
First, people go to heart.org/3 to watch a short video detailing how to apply hands-only CPR. Second, people donate to the AHA to fund CPR education, training and other life-saving programs. Third, people share the challenge by tagging three friends with #3forHeart on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn.
To kick off the social media effort, Hamlin challenged the “G.O.A.T.s”: former NFL quarterback Tom Brady, former First Lady Michelle Obama and Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James to participate.
In less than 24 hours, Hamlin’s video has received more than 1.2 million views on Twitter.
AHA CEO Nancy Brown also stepped up for the initiative, encouraging her organization’s staff, volunteers and supporters to participate. Brown also challengied media personality Star Jones, Grammy-winning musician will.i.am as well as Emmy-winning actress Susan Lucci to participate.
The effort’s premise calls to mind the basis for the Ice Bucket Challenge of 2014, a viral social media phenomenon which ended up raising more than $135 million for research into amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.
Hamlin, who was discharged from a hospital one week after collapsing, appears to have avoided any apparent neurological damage from cardiac arrest. Hamlin and many others attest his physical wellbeing to the quick and consistent use of CPR and automated external defibrillators used by first responders over the course of 10 minutes on the field.
While millions of Americans have recognized the value in being CPR-certified following the shocking incident in early January, there is still work to be done in terms of raising awareness for the technique.
CPR was critical to saving Hamlin’s life and brought renewed attention to the emergency health protocol but less than 3% of Americans receive CPR training every year, according to the AHA.