Why did the Chiefs cancel practice? Team halts activity after player went into cardiac arrest during meeting

The Chiefs were forced to halt their scheduled team activities Thursday after a player — reported to be defensive lineman BJ Thompson, per NFL Media — suffered a medical emergency during a special teams meeting.

Here’s what you need to know about the ongoing situation.

Why did the Chiefs cancel practice?

Thompson, a second-year backup, is said to have suffered a seizure during the meeting. He then went into cardiac arrest.

Kansas City’s medical team tended to him quickly, per reports. An ambulance was soon called and Thompson was transported to a hospital. He remains under watch but he is now in stable condition.

Thompson’s agent revealed Thursday night that his client remains unconscious despite being in stable condition. 

Thursday’s practice was slated to be Kansas City’s final offseason training activity (OTA) after practicing on Tuesday and Wednesday. The Chiefs canceled Thursday’s session. Another session is scheduled for Friday, according to ESPN’s Adam Teicher. They will also return to the training ground next week for mandatory mini camp.

Media availability with head coach Andy Reid and select players will now take place Friday in light of Thursday’s events.

Thompson appeared in one game as a rookie. Prior to his selection in the fifth round of last year’s NFL Draft, he starred at Stephen F. Austin.

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BJ Thompson stats

Thompson saw precious few minutes of game time in his maiden season. He did record a few stats, however.

Year Tackles Sacks INTs FF FR
2023 2 0 0 0 0

BJ Thompson contract

Thompson inked a four-year, $4,111,652 contract after Kansas City made him its fifth-round selection in the 2023 NFL Draft. $271,652 of that total is guaranteed, per Spotrac. His average annual value (AAV) is $1,027,913.

Cardiac arrest in the NFL

Unfortunately, Thompson is not the first NFL player to suffer cardiac arrest during his career. Multiple players have dealt with the issue, including, most recently, Bills safety Damar Hamlin. Hamlin went into cardiac arrest during a Jan. 2023 matchup with the Bengals, collapsing after tackling Cincinnati wide receiver Tee Higgins.

Hamlin regained consciousness two days later. He didn’t play another down that season, but offered support from afar. The following year, Hamlin returned to the field, playing a bit-part role during Buffalo’s run to the AFC Divisional Round.


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