National Football League Honored for Lifesaving Efforts in CPR Education and AED Access

Image copyright American Heart Association 2024.

Image copyright American Heart Association 2024.

Tuesday, June 11, 2024 9:25 am

American Heart Association awards its highest award for meritorious community service

Submitted by the American Heart Association

The American Heart Association, celebrating 100 years of lifesaving service, awarded the National Football League its Award of Meritorious Achievement on Monday night. The award, the organization’s highest honor, was presented to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell during ceremonies celebrating the founding of the American Heart Association.

The AHA was founded 100 years ago this week at the Drake Hotel in downtown Chicago. For nearly a quarter of that century, the NFL has worked with the American Heart Association to promote youth health and fitness. The NFL received the AHA’s Award of Meritorious Achievement for the league’s recent CPR awareness activities and support of community-based CPR training.

On January 2, 2023, Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin suffered cardiac arrest on national television during “Monday Night Football.” Hamlin’s recovery is a testament to the lifesaving power of cardiopulmonary resuscitation, as well as the extraordinary preparedness of the NFL and its member clubs.

Only 1 in 10 people who go into cardiac arrest outside of hospital currently survive, partly because CPR is performed less than half the time. Yet science indicates that CPR, especially if performed immediately, can double or triple the chances of survival.

Understanding the opportunity to potentially save lives, the NFL began using its powerful brand platform to drive global awareness and behavior change. Doing so saved the lives of legions of football fans worldwide.

In 2023, the NFL also created the Smart Heart Sports Coalition with the American Heart Association and Damar Hamlin’s Chasing M’s Foundation as founding members. Today, the coalition is working in all fifty states to adopt evidence-based public policies that will prevent fatal consequences of sudden cardiac arrest among high school students.

Since the coalition’s founding, more than a dozen states have passed this policy into law. Work also continues at the federal level to pass bipartisan legislation that will improve the chain of survival in elementary and secondary schools by authorizing federal assistance to school districts to develop and implement cardiac emergency response plans, purchase AEDs, and related equipment, and CPR and AED training. of students, employees and sports coaches. In addition, the NFL has committed $1 million to its clubs to further promote CPR training and awareness at the local community level.

“The Award of Meritorious Achievement is a testament to the NFL’s continued commitment to promoting healthy communities,” Goodell said. “Our journey with the American Heart Association began with the NFL’s PLAY 60 initiative, which inspired youth across the country to live healthy lifestyles. In recent years, our relationship has evolved to spearhead CPR education and AED access, equipping our communities to act as lifesavers. We are proud to work with our partners at the American Heart Association to champion these vital initiatives and remain committed to advancing health and well-being for all.”

The American Heart Association also appointed Goodell to its CEO Roundtable – a leadership collective of nearly 50 CEOs who work with the American Heart Association to build and maintain a healthy, high-performing workforce for more than 13 million collective employees and family members. . A top priority for member organizations is providing CPR and AED education and resources to their respective employee populations.

The targeted CPR outreach works. Thanks in part to the combined efforts of the AHA, the NFL and other community supporters, more than a third of U.S. adults surveyed (35%) say they now feel confident to perform CPR – an increase of 16% (30% in 2022) in the past two years.

“From programming physical activities for children to CPR education and emergency response planning on sports fields, the NFL continually demonstrates its commitment to heart health and safety, as well as social responsibility,” said Nancy Brown, CEO of the American Heart Association. “There is still work to be done. As the American Heart Association celebrates 100 years of lifesaving services, we are proud to stand with Commissioner Goodell and the NFL as we build a nation of lifesavers.”

The Nation of Lifesavers movement is the AHA’s latest commitment to CPR, with a commitment to double the survival rate from cardiac arrest by 2030.

Hands-Only CPR training at Super Bowl and Draft fan experiences and continued activation at NFL clubs with the support of grants from the NFL Foundation have resulted in an estimated 30,000 people trained since 2023.

The Atlanta Falcons, Baltimore Ravens, Buffalo Bills, Carolina Panthers, Cincinnati Bengals, Dallas Cowboys, Detroit Lions, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Los Angeles Rams, Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints, Pittsburgh Steelers and the Seattle Seahawks have organized American Heart Association training and education opportunities for staff or their communities. The Buffalo Bills and Atlanta Falcons have made their own multi-year investments in CPR education in the community.

For more than sixty years, the American Heart Association has been at the forefront as the world leader in CPR science, education and training, and as the official publisher of the Scientific Guidelines for CPR. The multi-year Nation of Lifesavers initiative supports CPR education, expands AED use and engages employers, policymakers, philanthropists and others to increase the chain of survival. The long-term goal is to ensure that, in the event of a cardiac emergency, anyone – anywhere – is prepared and able to perform CPR. More than 350,000 people suffer a cardiac arrest in hospital every year.

For more information or to join the Nation of Lifesavers, visit

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More about the American Heart Association

The American Heart Association is a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives. We are committed to ensuring health equity in all communities. Working with countless organizations, and powered by millions of volunteers, we fund innovative research, advocate for public health, and share lifesaving resources. The Dallas-based organization has been a leading source of health information for a century. In 2024 – our centenary – we will celebrate our rich, 100-year history and achievements. As we enter our second century of bold discovery and impact, our vision is to advance health and hope for everyone, everywhere. Contact us at, Facebook, X or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1.