PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — A Glen Mills firm manufactures sports equipment that it says helps to prevent injuries such as the one that may have caused Bills safety Damar Hamlin to suffer cardiac arrest last night during Monday Night Football.
Hamlin’s collapse on the field following a hit appeared to Rob Vito, the CEO of Glen Mills-based Unequal Technologies, to be a case of commotio cordis. That’s a rare disruption of the heart’s rhythm resulting from a blow to the chest at just the right moment in the heart’s cycle.
“Something that never happens, or never could happen, happened. And it happened on national television,” said Vito.
His firm sells a variety of impact-reducing sports equipment, including a chest protector which he says specifically shields the left side of the chest where the heart is located.
“You’ve got to make sure when you put on that chest protector, does it just cover the center of the chest or is it covering the trigger area two inches below the nipple? That’s where you’ve got to make sure you have coverage as well as on the left side of the chest,” Vito told KYW Newsradio.
Such chest protection is now required by USA Lacrosse and for catchers for National Federation of State High School Association baseball teams.
Vito said Unequal has made protective Kevlar shirts for pro quarterbacks after they have suffered rib injuries, but he knew of no NFL players wearing protection against commotio cordis.
“There’s something about being super light and thin and not having anything on your body,” he said. “But again, we all know the reality when it hits.”
Vito said he hoped Hamlin’s case would bring awareness to what he said was the second leading cause of cardiac death in athletes.