NIXA, Mo.- Football is integral to Coach John Perry’s life. 

But after Buffalo Bills’ Damar Hamlin went into cardiac arrest during Monday Night Football, the Nixa head football coach says life is much more important than a game. 

“It crosses your mind that, you know, when you watch that. I mean, it’s kind of it is kind of you know, it brings a little fear, or it does scare you a little bit because it looks like to look like a such a commonplace tackle.” Perry said. 

Medical experts say the situation is similar to a rare condition but there’s no official diagnosis at this time. 

“Commotio cordis is a rare event that occurs usually in children.” Dr. Shannon Woods with CoxHealth said. “The heart works on electrical activity and there’s a certain electrical rhythm that goes through the heart. A blow to the chest occurs at a very specific moment in the cardiac cycle, which is really just a millisecond. if it occurs at that one event, then it can throw the heart into this rhythm and then it stops pumping blood effectively to the organs.” 

Coach Perry says he’s already had players talk to him about the injury, but none have approached him about leaving the field for good. 

“We had a couple of conversations that day with a couple of guys that were watching the game. And, you know, their take was like mine. I mean, they could not believe that, you know, that, you know, the result was what it was.” Perry said. “I think there could be an argument made for, you know, this sport is as safe as it has ever been in the history of the sport because of some of the stuff that’s come to light with concussions and, you know, things like that.” 

Perry adds that safety is one of his top priorities and is open to changes for the better following the Hamlin hit. 

“We want the kid’s mom to be able to come out here and sit in the bleachers and watch practice every single day and feel good about, you know, what their kid’s doing.” Perry said. “We’re constantly looking at how can we be safer.”