NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — News 2 spoke with a Nashville cardiologist who advocates for the availability of automated external defibrillators in our community, claiming it may have saved Damar Hamlin’s life.

Dr. Bryan Doherty said going into cardiac arrest is extremely rare and uncommon, adding that the NFL’s response Monday night was a good example of their emergency action plan.  

“These are some of the fittest, healthiest people that are around, so for someone to have a cardiac arrest is both uncommon and shocking,” Bryan Doherty, a non-invasive cardiologist said. 

It was an emotional night after the Buffalo Bills’ safety collapsed on the field after taking a hit during the first quarter.  

“Even as a cardiologist, it’s still my reaction is it’s shocking, because it’s uncommon, then the questions start,” Doherty said.  

Doherty said it takes a very specific circumstance to go into cardiac arrest.

“It’s called commotio cordis. The heart has a vulnerable window for developing a heart rhythm abnormality if it is struck at the right time during the cycle,” Doherty said. 

He said the combination of CPR and the automated external defibrillator would ultimately impact survival.  

“Any sporting event involving people of any age, AEDs should be available. They save lives and we are hoping and praying that this circumstance proves to be true,” Doherty said. 

As prayers continue to come in for Hamlin across the world, Dr. Doherty said this terrifying moment is a reminder to be equipped and trained for even the rarest circumstances in sports.  

“AEDs should be available in all sporting events, and being aware of them knowing, to ask them for, knowing to defibrate early,” Doherty said.