MSMS Alum teaches students CPR after reviving Damar Hamlin

Curry performed CPR and restored Hamlin's heartbeat on the field before Hamlin was taken to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center.

COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI) – It is Alumni Week at the Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science.

For one alum, it was a chance to come back to where he got his start so he could share his journey with a new generation of students.

Since graduating from MSMS, Woods Curry has gone on to college and medical school.

Curry is an emergency medicine physician in Cincinnati.

The path that got him there ran through the Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science.

While he has treated many patients, one incident happened on a very public stage.

On January 2, 2023, during a game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin took a hard hit towards the end of the first quarter, collapsed, and suffered a cardiac arrest.

Curry performed CPR and restored Hamlin’s heartbeat on the field before Hamlin was taken to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center.

“We prepare heavily for all kinds of emergencies and 99% of the games, nothing happens and it’s a lot of fun,” Curry said. “But we’re ready for things to happen, and very early on Damar had his arrest and collapsed. You sort of just go into work mode. The crowd peels away, all that goes away, you go back to your training, and you do what we do in the AED every day.”

Curry says he knew once they got Hamlin off the field he was going to be okay. He also realized that he could take this experience and teach others the importance of AED use.

“If you have a cardiac arrest on an NFL football field, you’re going to have a huge team of people that are going to swarm you,” Curry said “But if you or I were to collapse right here, we’re going to rely on each other to do chest compressions and get an AED on, and that is incredibly important for the chain of survival.”

MSMS faculty member Thomas Richardson has known Curry for 22 years.

He says having him back on campus teaches students a valuable lesson, that to be the best at what you do, you can’t believe that your work happens in a vacuum.

“What he’s doing with his career is tangibly helping people and even by coming back here to talk to our students and present us with this AED, he’s giving back,” Richardson said. “That’s what we want all our students to strive for. The work you do and the connection you have with your town, your patients, whatever it may be, it’s going to be something that serves you and the community around you.”

At the end of the day, Curry says he wants students to walk away knowing how AED use and bystander CPR may be necessary when they least expect it.

“The only bad CPR is no CPR, so help your friends out,” Curry said. “Help the public out, get hands-on chest, call 911, use an AED, they’re not scary, they tell you what to do.”

And knowing CPR has changed his life by being able to save others’ lives.

If you would like to get certified in CPR go to the American Red Cross’s Website.

There, you can find classes in your area.

For 24/7 news and updates, follow us on Facebook and X

Categories: Featured, Local News