All too familiar: Crosby family says Damar Hamlin’s collapse is a reminder of the importance of AEDs

Ole Svangstu update
Ole Svangstu update(Photo courtesy: Don Anderson)
Published: Jan. 5, 2023 at 1:01 PM CST
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CROSBY, N.D. – The story of Buffalo Bill’s safety Damar Hamlin’s collapse during the game against the Cincinnati Bengals on Monday Night Football has captured the attention of people around the world.

But perhaps no one is following the story more closely than one Crosby family, because for the Svangstu family, the story hits especially close to home.

“I was in total shock because yeah, it was essentially it was like exactly the same,” said Heather Svangstu. “It was déjà vu I didn’t like!”

That moment in Monday Night Football was a replay of this game: Divide County at Surrey last September, when their son Ole collapsed on the field.

“He was finishing a play and stood up and it was almost like he was going take a couple steps and he felt straightforward,” recalled Heather.

Ole doesn’t remember that. He just remembers playing football, feeling lightheaded and waking up in the hospital.

Watching Damar Hamlin collapse left Ole feeling shocked and grateful.

“This kind of showed me what happened and how big of a deal this whole situation was. Just kind of put it in perspective for me,” said Ole. “My outcome could have been way, way, way different, so I’m just grateful about that.”

After a stress test, doctors cleared Ole to finish the football season. He’s now in the middle of his senior hockey season.

“I’m just thankful for that. Life is good,” said Ole.

Ole Svangstu
Ole Svangstu(Photo courtesy: Don Anderson)

Life that the Svangstu family appreciates a little more these days. And life, they know they owe to quick thinking EMTs, who they say did everything right that night in Surrey.

“Their training kicked in and everything went exactly how it was supposed to go. It couldn’t have gotten any better,” said Ole’s dad, Mitch Svangstu.

For the Svangstus, it is proof that AEDs, and people trained to use them, can be the difference between life and death.

The Svangstus are working to get more AEDs into places where there are large gatherings of people.