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KC Chiefs Provide Update on BJ Thompson Emergency, Praise Medical Teams

Kansas City Chiefs defensive end BJ Thompson suffered a seizure during a special teams meeting and went into cardiac arrest at the team’s facilities Thursday morning, leading the Chiefs to cancel Thursday’s Organized Team Activity practice and postpone their regularly scheduled news conference until Friday.

Shortly before the Chiefs spoke to the media on Friday afternoon, Tom Pelissero spoke NFL Media reported that Thompson was “awake and responsive, according to his agent,” and that Thompson’s “prognosis is good.”

Later in the day, Chiefs vice president of sports medicine and performance Rick Burkholder spoke to the media at the start of Friday’s press freedom to discuss Thursday’s emergency and praise Kansas City’s medical staff.

“He had a seizure during the meeting and ended up going into cardiac arrest,” Burkholder began. “Just as a side note, the NFL mandates that we create these emergency action plans for every team in the league – at home, away, in your practice facilities – and then we are mandated to practice multiple times a year. Ironically, we are assigned to practice several times a year. Practiced on Monday.”

Burkholder went on to name many of the assistant athletic trainers and other medical professionals who intervened.

“With BJ, when he got the attack, (kicker Harrison) Butker immediately ran to the training room and grabbed Julie Frymeyer and David Glover, and then grabbed me, we went into the room and eventually Tiffany Morton and Evan Craft came in too Because we have a doctor’s office down the hall with this facility, and Dr. JP Darche from (The University of Kansas Health System) was there, he stepped up and assisted and as a team we tried to stabilize BJ and keep him on the ground while he was still having a seizure, and then he went into cardiac arrest,” Burkholder said “Our team of that group of people gave him CPR, he had one AED shock and came back, so he probably only had one for less than a minute and a half. cardiac arrest.

“Our players, our safety staff, everyone involved, coaching staff, they were phenomenal in handling the crisis,” Burkholder continued. “We then handed him over to the KC fire brigade and the paramedics. Those paramedics do those practice sessions with us, so there was some familiarity with those guys, and then he was taken to KU Hospital where he was heavily sedated all night yesterday. And then they brought him out of anesthesia this morning. He was on a ventilator overnight so he could breathe because he was so heavily sedated. That’s all out, he’s awake, he’ll get through it fine ‘I don’t have a diagnosis, and in medicine sometimes you don’t have that. Like I said, he’s awake and alert and he’s going in the absolute right direction, so all is well in a bit of a hairy situation.”

Chiefs defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo discussed Thursday’s terrifying scene while performing at a charity softball game in Kansas City on Thursday night, according to PJ Green of FOX4 Kansas City:

“Let me say this before I say anything, I’m thinking about BJ right now,” Spagnuolo said. “It was scary. I think the guys were a little scared, I know I was. But a lot of praying and (head athletic trainer) Rick (Burkholder) and his staff did a great job.”
Spagnuolo said he was not in the room when it happened because it happened during a special team meeting.
“But everyone you know, from male to person to female, because we have some female trainers, they’ve been great, they’ve done a great job. So we’ll keep our fingers crossed. I’ll let Andy handle the rest.” from that.”

The Chiefs selected Thompson in the fifth round of the 2023 NFL Draft (No. 166 overall) out of Stephen F. Austin State University. Thompson played in one game in his rookie season.

Read more: Projecting the Chiefs’ wide receiver room after re-signing Mecole Hardman

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