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ENCINITAS, Calif. — In 2009, 15-year-old Eric Paredes died because of an undetected heart condition. 

When Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin collapsed after a hit on Monday Night Football, it sent a shockwave through the sports world. Its impact touched the heart of Hector Paredes.

“It almost made me choke up because this should not be happening,” Hector Paredes said.

Once news broke that Hamlin had suffered a cardiac arrest, it made Hector think back to when he lost his son to an undetected heart condition.

“I came home for lunch a little around one o’clock on July 23rd in 2009 and I found him collapsed on the kitchen floor,” Hector said.

Despite being a football player, a wrestler, an avid dancer and his father administering CPR, Eric’s heart gave out.

“And unfortunately we lost our son that day,” Hector said.

After Eric’s death, the Paredes family created the Eric Paredes Save A Life Foundation, dedicated to catching heart issues in children.

In 2010, they began screening at Eric’s high school Steel Canyon.

“I remember we found, I believe, it was three kids that were at risk of sudden cardiac arrest,” Paredes said.

Since the nonprofit began, they’ve screened more than 37,000 youth, finding more than 587 with cardiac abnormalities.

If you ever get into a situation like this, you want to remember these three key words: call, push, shock. You want to call 911, you want to administer CPR and you want to have an AED nearby. It’s going to walk you through the process of how you can save a life.

“One person can do hands-only CPR and use a defibrillator. It can be a young person, it can be an older person, you don’t have to be a trained expert,” Paredes said.

Paredes hopes the loss of his son and Hamlin’s accident will bring light to the dangers of undetected heart issues.

“That it wouldn’t be in vain, as they say. It just makes me think we can prevent this most of the time,” Paredes said.