Raheem Morris left it up to his 13-year-old daughter Amaya: Should they go to the pool? Or hit the arcade?
It was Memorial Day weekend and Morris, the defensive coordinator for the Los Angeles Rams, was in Las Vegas. He and his wife flew in the night before with their kids, seven-year-old Maliya and four-year-old Jalen. Around midday Saturday, Amaya arrived from Florida.
With the others at the pool, Amaya was eager to join them.
“I want to get my tan on, Daddy!” she said.
As Amaya jumped in and started splashing around with her siblings, Raheem settled into a lounge chair. He ordered a drink. Before it even arrived, something happened. Something that altered the lives of several families – and, Raheem hopes, the lives of everyone reading this.
The short version is that a lifeless three-year-old boy was pulled from the bottom of the pool and Raheem played an integral role in reviving him.
The longer version is rich in detail and lessons. Raheem is sharing it to inspire others to learn CPR and how to use an AED. After all, he was inspired to do so after two recent events that rocked the NFL family: the on-field cardiac arrest of Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin and the drowning death of the two-year-old daughter of Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Shaquil Barrett.
Less than two weeks after his training, Raheem put it into action.
“If I hadn’t taken that course, I wouldn’t have known what to do,” he told American Heart Association News.
On the first Monday night of 2023, Raheem was working at home and keeping an eye on the Bills-Bengals game. He saw Hamlin make a routine tackle, stand up, then collapse. The then-24-year-old’s heart had stopped beating.
The chain of survival played out perfectly. Hamlin received immediate, high-quality CPR, keeping blood and oxygen flowing, and a