Damar Hamlin collapses on the field

Medical staff rushed to treat Hamlin on the field as players from both teams gathered nearby. Members of the medical staff administered CPR to Hamlin, according to ESPN, which aired the game. He was given oxygen, the network reported.

Hamlin, 24, was taken to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center.

“Damar Hamlin went into cardiac arrest after scoring in our game against the Bengals,” the Bills said in a statement posted to their Twitter account. “His heartbeat was restored in the field and he was transferred to UC Medical Center for further evaluation and treatment. He is currently sedated and in critical condition.”

Bills player Damar Hamlin was taken out of the stadium in an ambulance.

Bills player Damar Hamlin was taken out of the stadium in an ambulance.Credit:AP

Jordon Rooney, a marketing rep for Hamlin, wrote on Twitter late Monday: “His vitals are back to normal and they put him down to put a breathing tube down his throat. They are currently running tests. We will provide updates as soon as we have them.”

Rooney told Good Morning America Tuesday from Cincinnati, “I can’t be specific about his health. I will say that he fights. He’s a fighter. I felt at that moment that it needed clarity that he was awake at that point. Now he’s sedated. The family is in good spirits. We honestly just take it minute by minute, hour by hour.”

Hamlin’s family said in a statement released by Rooney on Tuesday: “On behalf of our family, we would like 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 across the country. . . . 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.”

Hamlin was involved in a violent collision with Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins in a game in the first quarter just before his collapse. Hamlin tackled Higgins after a catch. Hamlin stood up briefly, then fell onto the lawn.

Other players were shown praying or kneeling on the field while Hamlin received medical attention. Some players cried; others hugged.

“Our thoughts are with Damar and the Buffalo Bills,” the NFL said in its statement. “We will provide more information as it becomes available. The NFL has been in constant contact with the NFL Players Association, which agrees with the game’s postponement.”

A temporary suspension of play was announced after coaches Sean McDermott of the Bills and Zac Taylor of the Bengals spoke to officials on the field. ESPN initially reported that the game would resume after a short break, with players being given five minutes to warm up. But Troy Vincent, the NFL’s executive vice president of football operations, later said he was “not sure where that came from.”

Vincent said in a conference call with reporters early Tuesday morning that “it would never have crossed my mind personally” to warm up the teams to resume play, calling it “ridiculous” and “insensitive”.

Vincent said he was in touch with Goodell throughout the decision-making process, adding: “It wasn’t about going ahead with the game. . . . Nothing mattered but Damar’s care. . . . We were just really trying to make sure we got it right with Damar.”

Fans gather for a vigil at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center for injured Buffalo Bills football player Damar Hamlin.

Fans gather for a vigil at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center for injured Buffalo Bills football player Damar Hamlin.Credit:Getty Images

Dawn Aponte, an NFL executive, was in the tunnel outside the teams’ locker rooms as players and coaches awaited the postponement decision.

Jeff Miller, the league’s executive vice president of communications, public affairs and policy, said every NFL stadium has an emergency plan in place with an ambulance at every game. According to Miller, a Tier 1 trauma center is included in each city’s plans. That was decided with Hamlin on Monday evening, he said.

“The NFLPA and everyone in our community is praying for Damar Hamlin,” the players’ union said in a statement. “We’ve been in touch with Bills and Bengals players, as well as the NFL. The only thing that matters right now is Damar’s health and well-being.”

Bills wide receiver Stefon Diggs went to the hospital to check on Hamlin’s condition after the game was postponed.

It was the second scary scene at a Cincinnati game this season stemming from a player’s serious injury. Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa was hauled off the field on a gurney and taken to the same hospital by ambulance after being struck and suffering a concussion during a Sept. 29 game against the Bengals.

Tagovailoa was discharged from the hospital later that night and traveled back to the Miami area with the Dolphins after that game, which ended.

Game stoppages for serious injuries are relatively common in NFL games. But the league, which postponed a game because of a player’s injury, is virtually unknown, underscoring the seriousness of Hamlin’s injury.

“I’ve never seen anything like this since I’ve been playing,” said Vincent, a former NFL defenseman.

The Bengals were leading 7-3 when play was halted with about six minutes remaining in the opening quarter. It was a high-profile game with a promised large viewing audience on ESPN and ABC. The 23 combined wins for the Bills and Bengals this season were the most ever for teams attending a “Monday Night Football” game. But the night ultimately served as a disturbing reminder of the inherent risks of the sport.

“Last night should be a great night for the NFL and a great showcase for our hometown,” Bengals owner Mike Brown said in a statement Tuesday. “Instead, the focus was on the human side of our sport. . . and in that moment, humanity and love came to the fore.”

Bill’s quarterback Josh Allen wrote on Twitter: “Please pray for our brother.”

The Bills notified the NFL that they planned to return to the Buffalo area overnight.

“We were notified that the team was returning to Buffalo, I believe it was just before midnight,” Vincent said. “There were a handful of players who wanted to stay with their teammate and then there [were] others who had planned to return to Buffalo, he said.

Goodell wrote in Tuesday’s memo to teams, “After speaking with both teams and the NFLPA leadership, I made the decision to reschedule last night’s game and continue to keep our focus on Damar and his family. We are in regular contact with both clubs and the medical team taking care of Damar and will share more information as we receive it.”

Hospital officials told local media that they would not be providing any further updates Monday night. Miller said the NFL has no medical updates to provide.

Hamlin was selected in the sixth round by the Bills in the 2021 draft by the University of Pittsburgh and is in his second pro season. He has started the last 14 games for the Bills and inherited a more prominent role from veteran standout Micah Hyde after recovering from injury.

The Bills play the New England Patriots Sunday in Orchard Park, NY. The Bengals are playing the Baltimore Ravens at home.

Washington Post

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Ryan Sederquist

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