Damar Hamlin wasn’t a name many people were familiar with before Monday night. Anyone who follows the Buffalo Bills knew who he was and some diehard football fans probably recognized the name, but his name entered everyone’s lexicon Monday evening.
Hamlin was involved in a scary incident during Monday Night Football in the game between the Bills and Cincinnati Bengals. What was one of the most anticipated matchups of the season, with playoff implications baked in, quickly became an afterthought with all of the focus shifting to Hamlin.
About midway through the first quarter, Hamlin, a safety for the Bills, made a tackle on Bengals’ wide receiver Tee Higgins. It was the kind of play that has occurred millions of times in a football game. After making the tackle, Hamlin stood up and everything seemed normal until he collapsed back to the ground.
He ended up suffering cardiac arrest stemming from the hard blow to his chest. CPR was administered on the field and he had to have his heartbeat restored as well with an AED before being placed in the ambulance and rushed to the hospital.
It was a chilling scene inside Paycor Stadium, as something unprecedented occurred. Prayers and well wishes poured in everywhere as this went beyond just the football world. One of the many players in the NFL brotherhood that sent a heartfelt message out was Davante Adams of the Las Vegas Raiders.
Over $4 million and counting has been donated to the toy drive for kids that Hamlin had set up on GoFundMe.com two years ago while playing collegiately for Pittsburgh. Hamlin remains hospitalized and in critical condition and his family appreciates all of the support that they have received.
“On behalf of our family, we want to express our sincere gratitude for the love and support shown to Damar during this challenging time. We are deeply moved by the prayers, kind words, and donations from fans around the country,” the family said in a statement released Tuesday morning.
“We also want to acknowledge the dedicated first responders and healthcare professionals at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center who have provided exceptional care to Damar. We feel so blessed to be part of the Buffalo Bills organization and to have their support. We also want to thank Coach Taylor and the Bengals for everything they’ve done. Your generosity and compassion mean the world to us. Please keep Damar in your prayers. We will release updates as soon as we have them.”
The game, which became secondary to Damar Hamlin’s health, was eventually suspended. The league has yet to announce what their next steps will be, but that all should take a backseat for a while as players and coaches will need to work through witnessing something that frankly no one on that field last night was physically or emotionally equipped to do.