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Commotio Cordis

Was it Commotio cordis?

Last month, 24-year-old Buffalo Bills player Damar Hamlin collapsed after a collision during a game in Cincinnati. He was motionless on the field as medical staff tended to him. Players kneeled. Fans held their breath. The game was halted.

Hamlin suffered a cardiac arrest, the leading medical cause of death in young athletes.

One theory is that Hamlin had ‘Commotio cordis.’ The phrase is Latin. It translates as ‘agitation of the heart.’

Commotio cordis occurs when blunt force trauma to the chest causes an electrical malfunction.

Timing is everything. If the blunt force trauma happens at the right moment in the heart’s rhythm, it can disrupt the flow and cause a cardiac arrest.

What happened to Hamlin is not yet entirely clear. It is possible he had an undiagnosed heart condition that generated no previous symptoms. What’s amazing is that Hamlin recovered. Medical experts credited the swift, on-field treatment.

But the moment underscores the importance of overall heart health. Since this is February, it’s also Heart Health Month.

And heart health is a very big deal.

Heart disease is more dangerous than all forms of cancer combined, according to the Mayo Clinic.

What can you do to keep your heart healthy?

Eat healthy foods. Maintain a healthy bodyweight. Exercise. Eat a diet rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory foods, such as broccoli and strawberries. Eat leafy greens. Make friends, in fact, with all fruits and vegetables. Get your cholesterol checked. Lower bad cholesterol if necessary. Quit smoking if you smoke. Drink alcohol in moderation.

You know the drill. Your heart is an engine that runs around the clock. You may as well take good care of it. It’s estimated that 80 percent of heart attacks could be prevented by men and women making the right choices with their diet and exercise habits.

What else can you do to keep your heart healthy?

Learn how it works.

And, of course, there is no better way than to build a heart with your hands and a scoop of clay. Appreciation through understanding! We certainly take our heart for granted until it balks or complains. It’s always a good idea to stop and recognize the importance of this critical muscle.

This month, the Anatomy in Clay® Learning System Instagram feed features a step-by-step approach to building the heart. And there’s a companion PDF you can download by filling in a quick form.

We are confident that as you build your appreciation—and understanding—will increase.

And that includes the heart’s relationship to the important electrical system.

You will build the sinoatrial node, the atria-ventricular node. You will add the bundle of His (named for the Swiss cardiologist who discovered the fibers, in 1893) and you will grasp the tricky, delicate and carefully-sequenced series of events that happen as your heart beats and keeps blood flowing throughout your body.

February is Valentine month. It’s an excellent time to show a little love for your heart.







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