Kansas City Chiefs’ BJ Thompson ‘awake and alert’ after going into cardiac arrest at team meeting

BJ Thompson, a defensive end with the Kansas City Chiefs, is “awake and alert” after suffering a seizure and going into cardiac arrest during a team meeting on June 6, Rick Burkholder, the team’s vice president of sports medicine and performance, told reporters on June 7.

During a press conference, Burkholder told reporters that when Thompson, 25, started seizing, teammate Harrison Butker ran to get medical help.

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

Thompson’s agent Chris Turnage also told NBC News that the player “is awake and alert right now.”

Thompson was assisted by the Kansas City fire department and paramedics, who took him to the University of Kansas Health System, where “he was heavily sedated yesterday through the night,” Burkholder said.

Burkholder shared that Thompson was on a ventilator overnight “just so he could breathe because he was so heavily sedated” but was brought out of the sedation on the morning of June 7.

“He’s alert. He’s awake. He’s coming through quite well. We don’t have a diagnosis. In medicine sometimes you don’t have that,” he continued, adding, “Like I said, he’s awake and alert and he’s headed in the absolute right direction. All things good in a little bit of a hairy situation.”

The team canceled all offseason training activities for June 6 following the episode, according to NFL.com, while head coach Andy Reid and select players moved their media session set for June 6 to June 7.

Reid also spoke with reporters on June 7, calling Thompson’s incident a “tough situation.”

“I’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.”

Thompson, who will be in his second NFL season in 2024, was selected in the fifth round of the draft in 2023 out of Stephen F. Austin State University in Texas. The England, Arkansas, native is listed as 6-foot-6, 243 pounds. He played in one game last season, recording two tackles in the Chiefs’ Week 18 victory over their AFC West rival Los Angeles Chargers.

Chiefs players are currently taking part in a voluntary offseason program, with mandatory minicamp slated to open June 11.

The team is preparing to go for its unprecedented third consecutive Super Bowl. The team visited the White House last week in honor of this past season’s championship.

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