Bill’s Damar Hamlin Collapses and is in Critical Condition

The Bengals and Bills, two of the best teams in the league, faced off in a primetime “Monday Night Football” matchup. Fans had packed the stadium and others watched from their homes, but no one could have known what they were going to end up watching. 

Near the end of the first quarter, Bills safety Damar Hamlin made a tackle against Bengals receiver, Tee Higgins. Following the hit, Hamlin stood up, took a few steps and then fell to the ground. The Bills athletic training staff was  immediately out of the field to administer treatment to the 24 year-old. He had gone into cardiac arrest, and first responders performed CPR and used an automated external defibrillator to revive him and restart his heart. Hamlin was placed in an ambulance and transported to the University of Cincinnati medical center, the only level one trauma center in the area. He is currently sedated at the University medical center and in critical condition. 

Players in shock after Hamlin’s collapse (Kareem Elgazzar/The Enquirer).

While medical staff worked hard to restore his heart rate, players from both teams were huddled around him and each other. Some were praying together while others cried. But the concern, shock and sadness could be seen on all of their faces. After Hamlin was put into the ambulance the teams were sent back to their respective locker rooms for an undisclosed amount of time but broadcasts stated that they would be in there for about five to ten minutes.

The NFL took over an hour to make the call to officially suspend the game. There are many different sources reporting different things about the situation. The New York Times reported that the Vice President of football operations said it was never even a thought to resume the game. However, on the broadcast it was said that the NFL wanted to resume play after giving the teams some time to collect themselves. The fact that postponement took so long also raised concerns in the minds of fans and players. 

People took to social media to show their support for Damar Hamlin (via Buffalo Bills Instagram)

Players across the league were Tweeting about the NFL’s lack of urgency when canceling the game. Arizona Cardinal JJ Watt said  “The game is not important. Damar Hamlin’s life is important. Please be ok. Please ?” It took the NFL one hour to officially call the game. Both coaches were seen to be on the phone during the postponement and it was assumed they were talking to the people on Park Ave at the league office. At around 10 PM the NFL officially suspended the game and there would be no more football. Players and organizations were sending their support to the Bills and Hamlin. The Carolina Panthers said “Our prayers are with Damar Hamlin”,  Sauce Gardner of the New York Jets wrote “Father God, I pray that Damar Hamlin is okay and here with us. I also ask that he have a speedy recovery mentally and physically God; in Jesus name… Amen”, and Donovan Mitchell sent wishes to Hamlin and his family on behalf of the Cavs organization.

There have been very few updates on Hamlin and his condition since last night when he was brought to UC. Some reports have said that he is breathing on his own now and his vital signs are back to normal but nothing has been confirmed by the Bills or his personal team. 

According to the NFL, the game will not be resumed this week. There is no decision about potentially resuming it at a later date.

“Monday Night Football” was bigger than football this week. It was a matter of life and death. A young man’s life hung in the balance and it still does. Ryan Clark put it best when he said that Hamlin’s dream became a nightmare for himself, his family and his teammates.