MEDINA, Ohio — When Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin collapsed on a football field in Cincinnati, players gathered in a circle and prayed and a stadium full of fans sat in stunned silence.
Brian Brant, 65, of Medina, was also shocked as he watched the much-anticipated game from his living room.
Hamlin, 24, was taken from the field by ambulance to UC Medical Center where he remained in critical condition Tuesday.
"It all hit me like, wow, this is bringing it back— ya know flashback— that was (what) really happened," he said.
It was also very tough for his wife, Susan, to watch and she teared up while talking to News 5 on Tuesday because it reminded her of the desperate struggle she faced to save her husband.
"I get emotional, she said. "I said, 'Oh my gosh,' It's eight months later to the almost minute that this happened last night."
In May of 2022, Brian suffered cardiac arrest in the couple's home. Susan, a respiratory therapist, called 911 and pumped his chest over and over, performing CPR.
"I would say maybe 30 rounds of 15. It was a pretty long time," she said.
Her immediate response, along with work from paramedics and Cleveland Clinic hospital staff, saved Brian's life.
Brian said doctors eventually told him that he didn't have a pulse for 40 minutes, but remarkably, he has made a full recovery.
"I just realized I've got a second chance on life and every day it feels like it's more interesting and fun."
According to the American Heart Association, there are more than 350,000 cardiac arrests outside of hospitals in the U.S. each year and 90% of the cases are fatal, but doctors say the survival rate increases greatly when arrests are witnessed and there is prompt CPR.
"Then, the survival rates are much higher and then we see survival of 50 to 60 to 70%," said Dr. Judith Mackall, a cardiac electrophysiologist at UH Harrington Heart and Vascular Institute in Cleveland.
Mackall said Hamlin's cardiac arrest could have been caused by many factors, including an undiagnosed heart problem, or possibly from a blow to the chest while making a tackle.
"It's distinctly unusual to see this in a football game, not impossible," she said.
Mackall stressed quick CPR and the use of an AED on the football field was crucial.
"They'll look at his heart and they'll look at his brain, and hopefully, what he has going for him—prompt treatment and a young brain."
The Brant family said they're now praying for Hamlin and his family.
"The big road, just survival , the hope of survival for this gentleman and good survival," Susan Brant said. "I have him on my mind all the time since last night. I've thought about him and his family and his teammates."
The Medina couple also hopes the frightening situation convinces others to learn life-saving measures.
"The big thing is that I think more people need to be aware of doing CPR," Brian Brant said.
You can watch more about how CPR helped saved Brant's life in the player below:
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