After being knocked out on the football field at Spruce Creek High School, Jordan Peterson’s heart stopped. It is speculated by medical professionals that Jordan experienced a rare event called commotio cordis. This is an event that occurs when a person gets hit in the chest at a precise moment during a heartbeat.
Most cases of commotio cordis are fatal. However, death and serious injuries can be avoided or significantly reduced if the rhythm of the victim’s heart is restarted by the use of an automated external defibrillator. This is what happened with Jordan – once Jordan was knocked out, his coaches immediately grabbed a defibrillator and shocked his heart back into rhythm.
Dr. Tom Carson, an Orlando, Florida pediatric cardiologist, says speed is important in responding because of potential brain damage. In fact, according to Carson, for every minute your heart is stopped, the chance of sustaining brain damage increases by 10%. The sports most often associated with commotio cordis include baseball, lacrosse, hockey and martial arts – all of which involve a sharp blow to the chest. If you would like to read more on this story please see High school football player’s heart stopped after sustaining blunt chest trauma.
Because of the high risk of brain damage, defibrillators should be on hand at practices and games. Also, coaches and other responsible adults should be trained on how to properly use defibrillators instead of waiting on an ambulance to arrive – time is of the essence.