Harrison Butker played vital role in saving BJ Thompson during seizure and cardiac arrest, Chiefs staffer says

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BJ Thompson seemed to be recovering Thursday, and he has a teammate to thank for saving his life.

The Kansas City Chiefs defensive end had a seizure and went into cardiac arrest during a team meeting Thursday morning.

Rick Burkholder, the Chiefs’ vice president of sports medicine and performance, said the team held a meeting earlier in the week about “scenarios like” Thompson’s emergency.


Harrison Butker before Super Bowl 58

Harrison Butker of the Kansas City Chiefs arrives at Allegiant Stadium before the Super Bowl against the San Francisco 49ers Feb. 11, 2024, in Las Vegas. (Luke Hales/Getty Images)

During Thursday’s meeting, when Thompson had a seizure, it was Harrison Butker who alerted the team’s medical personnel.

“When he had the seizure, Butker immediately ran towards the training room and grabbed [assistant athletic trainers] Julie Frymyer and David Glover and then grabbed me, and we went into the room,” Burkholder told the NFL Network Friday.

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

“Our players, our security staff — everybody involved, coaches and staff — they were phenomenal in handling the crisis.”

BJ Thompson walks off the field

BJ Thompson of the Kansas City Chiefs walks off the field during a game against the Arizona Cardinals at State Farm Stadium Aug. 19, 2023, in Glendale, Ariz.  (Ric Tapia/Getty Images)


Butker has become a polarizing figure in recent weeks due to a commencement speech he gave at Benedictine College, where he urged women graduates to embrace being a “homemaker” and criticized the LGBTQ community and President Biden for his stance on abortion.

In the speech, Butker added, “Things like abortion, IVF, surrogacy, euthanasia, as well as a growing support for the degenerate cultural values and media all stem from pervasiveness of disorder.”

Butker attended the Chiefs’ Super Bowl celebration at the White House last week.

And his jersey sales have skyrocketed on NFL Shop, while many in the media remain split about the speech.

Thompson’s agent said Friday Thompson is “awake and responsive.”

BJ Thompson

Kansas City Chiefs defensive end BJ Thompson (53) during the first half against the Los Angeles Chargers at SoFi Stadium.  (Orlando Ramirez/USA Today Sports)


Thompson is entering his second season with the Chiefs after being selected in the fifth round of the NFL Draft. He appeared in one game during his rookie season against the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 18, and he registered two tackles. 

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