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American Heart Association teaches Colts fans CPR during Give Back Sunday

(WISH Photo)

WESTFIELD, Ind. (WISH) — Give Back Sunday is the Colts training camp day dedicated to highlighting the work of local non-profits in the community, but this year, the team also brought in the American Heart Association to teach fans hands-only CPR in the aftermath of Damar Hamlin collapsing on the field during a 2022 NFL season.

This addition to training camp is a part of the NFL’s commitment to CPR education and automated external defibrillator (AED) access across the country through the Smart Heart Sports Coalition.

“The CPR initiative with the league, they are working with teams and individual markets to do this education and awareness piece to be able to train fans in hands-only CPR, and to target coaches working with youth as well too is a really high priority,” explained Ashley Powell, the Colts director of community relations.

Tim Harms is the senior communications director of the American Heart Association. He said the goal is to create a “Nation of Life Savers” ready to call 911 and start CPR until help arrives.

“You put your hands in the center of the chest and you press hard and fast, which is about 100-120 beats per minute, and you do that until the EMS arrives,” Siad Harms.

Representatives at the American Heart Association tents encouraged parents to jump in with kids to get more comfortable doing hands-only CPR too.

“Right now, there are about 350,000 instances of sudden cardiac arrest each year, and unfortunately, 90% of those people do not survive,” Harms said. “A lot of that is because people don’t feel comfortable jumping in to do CPR. They don’t know the skills that are needed to do that, and we want to create a ‘Nation of Life Savers.”

The Colts said it is important to be able to showcase the important work many of the other non-profits featured at Give Back Sunday are doing in the community.

“Community is extremely important to the organization, really from the top down. the Irsay family and the Indianapolis Colts organization as a whole really see ourselves as stewards to the community,” Powell said.

Some of the local organizations featured at Give Back Sunday included Big Brothers Big Sisters and the Westfield Youth Assistance Program.

A new Indiana law went into effect July 1 requiring schools to have AEDs on hand at all extracurricular activities, including the arts. The law also required staff and teachers involved in these activities to be trained to use them.