Chiefs DE BJ Thompson ‘headed in the absolutely right direction’ after suffering seizure, cardiac arrest

BJ Thompson was drafted by the Chiefs in the fifth round of the 2023 NFL Draft out of Stephen F. Austin and Baylor. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack, File)

Kansas City Chiefs defensive end BJ Thompson is awake and improving, according to Rick Burkholder, the team’s vice president of sports medicine and performance.

Thompson, 25, reportedly suffered a seizure and cardiac arrest during a special teams meeting on Thursday while at the Chiefs’ practice facility. He was transported by ambulance to the hospital, placed on a ventilator and was heavily sedated overnight.

Burkholder said the ventilator was due to Thompson’s level of sedation.

“With B.J., when he had the seizure [Chiefs kicker Harrison] Butker immediately ran toward the training room and grabbed Julie Frymyer and David Glover, and then grabbed me,” Burkholder explained Friday. “We went into the room, eventually Tiffany Borton and Evan Kraft came in, as well as, with this facility, we have a doctor’s office down the hall, and Dr. JP Darche from Kansas University Health System was there, and assisted in, as a team, we tried to stabilize B.J. and put him on the floor.

“He was still seizing, and then he went into cardiac arrest, so, our team of that group of people provided CPR for him. He had one AED shock and came back, so he was probably only in cardiac arrest for a minute, minute and a half.”

Thompson was brought out of sedation Friday, and according to Burkholder, he is alert, awake and “headed in the absolutely right direction.”

“We don’t have a diagnosis, and in medicine, sometimes you don’t have that,” Burkholder added.

The Chiefs canceled practice and media availability following the incident. At the time, it was unclear whether a player or staff member was involved.

Thompson was selected by the Chiefs in the fifth round of the 2023 NFL Draft out of Stephen F. Austin. He appeared in one game in 2023, largely on special teams, and made two tackles.

The Chiefs will finish OTA workouts this week. Mandatory minicamp is set to start Tuesday before official training camp kicks off in July.

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