This is the most traumatic NFL event of the last 50 years
Every time an NFL player steps on the field, he knows the risks involved in the game—but not this. Never this.
No athlete ever imagines that his very life could be put in immediate peril on the football field.
Derek Stingley, Dennis Byrd, Ryan Shazier, Ricardo Lockette—as terrifying as these situations were, they did not result in CPR being administered on the field. They did not cause the country to watch helplessly in shock and horror as medics frantically fought to restart a young man’s heart.
Damar Hamlin is in this situation. Damar Hamlin the human being is fighting for his life, in critical condition after suffering a cardiac arrest on the field.
The images of Bills’ players crying, looking on or looking away in horror, will forever be etched on the hearts and minds of all who witnessed it. Seeing a player go down usually means moments of concern, at least in the immediate aftermath, not hours and days hovering between life and death.
But the trauma we, as people, are experiencing is secondary to the life hanging in the balance.
Hamlin’s mother was in the stands in Cincinnati. She expected to see her son compete in a riveting matchup between two of the NFL’s top teams. Instead, she accompanied him to the hospital in an ambulance, not knowing if he would be alive in the next moment.
The horror of parents everywhere is unimaginable.
There is no use speculating on exactly what happened. Leave that to doctors. Remember, though, that no one but the medical team treating Hamlin at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center knows exactly what they’re dealing with.
However, it is clear that nine minutes of CPR is never a good sign. Hopefully, it took less than that to regain Hamlin’s pulse.
Perhaps there is a tiny measure of hope to be found in the fact that the ambulance waited for Hamlin’s mother to come before rushing to the hospital.
Hamlin’s marketing representative released the following information after Hamlin was taken to the hospital.
Update on Damar:
His vitals are back to normal and they have put him to sleep to put a breathing tube down his throat. They are currently running tests.
We will provide updates as we have them.
— Jordon Rooney (@jordonr) January 3, 2023
Overnight, the Buffalo Bills’ organization put out a statement on Twitter.
Damar Hamlin suffered a cardiac arrest following a hit in our game versus the Bengals. His heartbeat was restored on the field and he was transferred to the UC Medical Center for further testing and treatment. He is currently sedated and listed in critical condition.
— Buffalo Bills (@BuffaloBills) January 3, 2023
There is nothing anyone but the doctors can do except hope and pray. But there is a human need to do something.
Thousands have channeled that need into donating to Hamlin’s GoFundMe for the Chasing M’s Foundation, a toy drive that Hamlin set up for children in his home community. The goal for the fundraiser was $2,500; in 12 hours, the charity raised $3.6 million and counting.
As we await any updates on Hamlin’s condition, let us find the moments that transcend differences and utilize them to recognize what really matters. Hug your loved ones. Find it in yourself to mend fences, to forgive if needed, to compromise. Allow yourself to cry. Support each other.
Damar, we’re all praying for you.