Image Courtesy of CNN
By Zachary Lichter
On Monday, January 2, 2023, Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin suffered cardiac arrest during the first quarter of a Monday Night Football game against the Cincinnati Bengals. The Bills and the Bengals game was canceled by the National Football League (NFL), 3 days after the accident occurred. The injury happened when Hamlin tackled Bengals wide receiver, Tee Higgins. Hamlin got up after he tackled Higgins, but then he suddenly collapsed. Both the Bengals and Bills athletic trainers came out and administered CPR. Hamlin received oxygen and was placed in an ambulance sixteen minutes after he collapsed.
He was then taken to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, where he was placed in the intensive care unit (ICU). After being in Cincinnati overnight, he was flown back to Buffalo, where he was sent to Buffalo General Medical Center for nine days.
Sophomore civil engineering major Nathan Lovell gave his comments about Damar Hamlin’s injury.
“I was watching the game. Initially, the hit didn’t look that bad, but when I heard that he was being given CPR and AED, I wasn’t sure if Hamlin was going to make it off the field,” Lovell said. “It was beyond scary. I think people will remember that football is an inherently violent game. From a player’s perspective, injury is sadly the risk of playing the game. From the viewer’s perspective, however, I think it should be remembered that football is in the entertainment industry, and that safety is way more important than our entertainment.”
With Hamlin suffering cardiac arrest on the field, he may have suffered Commotio Cordis, a heart condition where someone is struck right over the chest in the middle of a heartbeat. The injury to Damar Hamlin shows how dangerous football can be, but Commotio Cordis is not the most common NFL injury. The most common injuries in football are torn knees, broken bones, concussions, and chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). The NFL has not decided if they will make any rule changes to the game regarding Hamlin’s injury.
“I think you could see parents keeping their children from playing the game, but not enough to hinder the continued growth of the game,” Lovell said. “Sadly, because football is only growing as a huge moneymaker, I can’t imagine the public losing interest in the game. If anything, there will be increased pressure to increase research into safer equipment technology and facilities, which would be a good thing.”
If the Bills didn’t lose to the Bengals, they would’ve played the Chiefs at a neutral site, which was going to be Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. With the Bengals and the Bills being postponed, The Kansas City Chiefs ended up clinching the first seed and a first-round bye in the AFC Conference. The Bengals beat the Bills 29-10 on January 22, in the AFC Divisional Round, and since no tiebreaker is needed, the game will be played at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium.
Since Hamlin’s injury, players across the league have reached out to him on social media. He received support worldwide, with people donating millions of dollars to his GoFundMe toy drive. The GoFundMe raised $8.6 million, and Hamlin said he will use the extra money to support young people through education and sports. Before every game played in Week 18, there was a moment of cheer and support for Hamlin. The sixteen stadiums that hosted a game on Week 18 had #3 highlighted on each of the thirty-yard lines because that was the number Hamlin wore The Bills wore a number three patch with Hamlin to support their teammate. It is currently unknown if Hamlin will ever play in the NFL again Bills head coach, Sean McDermott, told the media that Hamlin’s status on returning to the Bills is all up to how he feels. Of course the Bills, NFL fans, and everyone across the country would be excited to see him step foot on the football field again.