UNION, Ky. (LEX 18) — In one of the NFL’s most jarring moments, the life-threatening injury of Damar Hamlin hit particularly close to home for one Kentucky family.
“I'm sitting there going 'I wish I could get off this couch and run down to UC and hug this mom and hold her hand and tell her everything's gonna be alright.' Because as a parent, it's hard to realize what she's going through until you've gone through it yourself,” said Matt Mangine.
In 2020, it was the Mangine family waiting with bated breath as emergency responders tried to save their son.
16-year-old Matthew Mangine collapsed and went into cardiac arrest at soccer practice. The moments that followed proved critical.
“There were 5 AEDs at the school that night. The closest one was 250 feet away, but no one got the AED, and his initial shock didn't come until approximately 12 minutes after the ambulance arrived, and that was the first shock that was administered,” explained Mangine.
Matthew passed away following his collapse.
“It'll be three years this year, and it still seems like yesterday,” said Mangine.
The team captain and big brother who had been anxiously waiting to get his driver's license lost a battle to time – the same thing that might have saved Damar Hamlin.
“Your thoughts and feelings are all over the place, ya know, because you wish that same kind of care would've happened to your son so that he was in the same situation.”
Sudden cardiac arrest is the number one killer of student athletes, according to Parent Heart Watch.
Mangine also shared that every minute that passes without CPR reduces the chance of survival by 10%.
“This is a bigger problem than a lot of people even realize,” said Mangine.
Since their son’s passing, the Mangines have made it their mission to bring awareness to medical safety equipment and procedures for student-athletes.
The Matthew Mangine Jr. “One Shot” Foundation offers training on AEDs and CPR, donates medical safety equipment, and draws attention to Emergency Action plans.
“A lot of people said they've never seen an ambulance on the field,” said Mangine, “Every time there's something like that situation in a high school environment, that's the plan, that's how it's supposed to work.”
Mangine said he's waiting anxiously for updates on Hamlin's condition and hoping for the best outcome. The learn more about the foundation, you can visit their website here: https://www.matthewmanginejrfoundation.org/about/