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Chiefs DE BJ Thompson is awake, recovering after medical emergency

Chiefs DE BJ Thompson is awake, recovering after medical emergency

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas City Chiefs wrapped up the final day of offseason organized team activities on Friday, and shared good news about BJ Thompson after he was taken to the hospital for a medical emergency on Thursday.

The Chiefs canceled practice after Thompson suffered a seizure and went into cardiac arrest. His condition stabilized at the hospital, and the team said he’s awake and alert on Friday.

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Rick Burkholder, vice president of sports medicine and performance, confirmed the reports and told local media on Friday that kicker Harrison Butker ran to the training room to get trainers Julie Frymyer and David Glover while Thompson was seizing.

The NFL mandates an emergency action plan for medical personnel that must be practiced multiple times a year. The Chiefs practiced theirs on Monday with Sports Medicine Emergency Management, who helped the trainers practice scenarios like Thompson’s seizure.

Each Chiefs medical trainer: Tiffany Morton, Evan Craft, Burkholder, Frymyer, and Glover, assisted with taking care of Thompson, along with team physician and former Chiefs player J. P. Darche.

The team’s practice facility is connected to a University of Kansas sports medicine and performance center.

“We tried to stabilize BJ and then put him on the floor while he was still seizing and then he went into cardiac arrest,” Burkholder said. “Our team of that group of people provided CPR for him. He had one AED shock and came back so he was only in cardiac arrest for probably less than a minute, minute-and-a-half.

“Our players, our security staff, everybody involved coaches staff, they were phenomenal in handling the crisis. We then turn him over to the fire department and the paramedics. Those paramedics do those practice sessions with us so there was some familiarity there with those guys.”

Thompson was heavily sedated and on a ventilator through the night before waking up this morning.

“He’s coming through quite well.”

Defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo spoke about him before a charity softball game many of Thompson’s teammates attended.

“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 bit scared, I know I was. But a lot of praying and [head athletic trainer] Rick [Burkholder] and his staff did a terrific job.”

“But everybody you know, to a man to a person to a woman, because we have some female trainers, they were terrific, they did a great job. So we’ll keep our fingers crossed. I’ll let Andy handle the rest of that.”

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Thompson plays defensive end and was a fifth-round NFL draft pick in 2023, hosted in Kansas City.

Head coach Andy Reid said he was right there throughout the whole process and let the trainers handle the situation.

“That’s a tough situation. We’ve been through a couple of those before in my time and it’s never, ever fun,” Reid said. “Thank goodness. I mean, if it had to happen, no better place than right here where you have a support unit that knows what to do.”

The team was informed about Thompson throughout the process.

Safety Justin Reid was in the meeting and praised the trainers and medical staff as well.

“Credit to our training room and just that sense of urgency and the swiftness that they’re able to come in and be fast for BJ,” Reid said. “It’s just phenomenal news that we got that he’s doing better and that he’s stable today. Really credit to our staff for being on it. And we’re so fortunate that we have them here to take care of him, make sure that he’s alright.”

Reid saw Butker spring into action to alert the trainers.

“Harrison’s that guy. I mean, he loves all of us. And you know, we’re a family. This is so much deeper than just football. We root for each other, and in a moment like that, you just have to call yourself into action. Harrison did that and the trainers moved so quickly to be able to rescue BJ and helped make it happen. “

“I’m just glad to see that he’s doing good,” defensive end George Karlaftis said. “When you have a guy go down like that, you know, you never want that for anyone. It’s hard but I will say this, we’re blessed to have such great teammates and athletic trainers that helped him and were able and ready for that situation. I’m hoping and praying for a speedy recovery for BJ.”

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