An AED, or Automatic External Defibrillator, likely made a major difference in the response to Bills safety Damar Hamlin's cardiac arrest on the field Monday night.
The small machines give a shock to the heart to ideally restore a heartbeat. But where are AEDs required around the DMV?
D.C., Maryland, and Virginia, all mandate them to some extent in schools.
D.C. requires AEDs at all rec centers and Virginia law states they must be present in any fitness or health center.
In Maryland, all AEDs must be located within a short walk from all school sports practices and games.
Montgomery County Public Schools have portable AEDs assigned to the athletic director to take to school athletic events.
AEDs are always near the gym and field of every school. Fairfax County Public Schools has similar regulations. FCPS schools are all equipped with multiple AEDs often located directly next to the gym. Athletic trainers also carry portable units with them.
"I hope that the sport gets to such a level that every school that has a football team has a medical staff to look after these kids," said Claude Barrington when reflecting on what happened to Damar Hamlin.
FOX 5 spoke with the co-founders of Guardians of Sport, a non-profit organization that runs basketball leagues for adults and kids in Montgomery County. They've always taken safety very seriously, but say Monday night's tragedy was a reminder.
"It's really been a wakeup call and a reminder to all of us that sports are a big deal to all of us but what's most important is safety," said Anthony Brown, of Guardians of Sport.
Sports games and rec leagues taking place in any government building likely have an AED nearby, but people need to know their location and when to use them.
"All of our officials are CPR and first aid and AED certified and whenever we go to a facility, we make sure everyone knows where the AED is located," explained Joshua Frenche, also of Guardians of Sport.
Guardians of Sport has never had to use one of the AED's on-site, but Frenche says there could be an instance where they need it even in basketball. "All it takes is a guy to go airborne, something happens, and the next thing you know he's lying on the ground," Frenche said.
FOX 5 also spoke with Xzavier Blackmone who lives in the Rockville area. He plays for a local rugby league and says, unfortunately, they do not have AEDs on the sideline of matches.
"You can get hit in your center of mass and stuff like that could happen where it could end up stopping your heart," he said, describing contact sports in general. Blackmone said the situation with Hamlin should be a reason for all sports teams and leagues, no matter how professional or amateur, to have an AED nearby.
"I would definitely encourage them to bring in AED's, let's put a fund together," he said.
AEDs cost between $1,000 and $2,000. D.C. is currently running a program, offering a rebate to building owners who install them.