Last night Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin collapsed on the field in the first quarter of a game against the Cincinnati Bengals. Medical personnel used a defibrillator and administered CPR for several minutes while the players formed a circle to block any view of Hamlin, who is being treated. He was rushed to the hospital within minutes; The Bills then released a statement saying the 24-year-old had suffered cardiac arrest and was in critical condition.
Hamlin’s condition and its cause immediately became the subject of intense interest online. While many expressed their sympathy and wished him well, some of the most notorious internet figures attempted to take advantage of his death to spread unfounded theories.
Right-wing opponents of vaccination were among the most outspoken propagators of these unfounded rumours. Turning Point USA’s Charlie Kirk and the creators of the debunked anti-vax “documentary” Died suddenly and other conspiracy theorists and far-right pundits rushed to capitalize on Hamlin’s medical emergency.
Kirk described the incident as “a tragic and, at the moment, all too familiar sight: athletes suddenly falling over.”
Stew Peters who made suddenly died subsequently deleted his claim that Hamlin may have died, but later posted that people were planning to go gaslighting over the incident.
Subscribers to the extremist and conspiracy-conservative Gateway Pundit’s Telegram Chat claimed without evidence that Hamlin’s heart attack was caused by the vaccine, inaccurately speculating that he was already dead and the NFL was “panic.”
These unsubstantiated claims were heavy criticized. Charlie Kirk trended alongside Hamlin’s name on Twitter on Tuesday, with most people taking him to task for his comments.
MP Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) called Kirk “the biggest piece of human garbage” for using Hamlin’s condition “for your BS lies.”
“Anyone who says what happened to Damar Hamlin and equates it to the Covid vaccine while still in hospital is a giant piece of shit with no moral compass using someone’s life to trying to spread his anti-vax bullshit and it’s absolutely gross. ” wrote one.
The NFL suspended its COVID-19 vaccine and testing protocols last March, according to NBC News. Hamlin’s vaccination status is unknown.
While myocarditis and pericarditis (inflammation of the heart and surrounding tissues, respectively) are rare possible side effects of the vaccine, these occur within days of receiving the injection. Neither is the same as cardiac arrest, which Hamlin reportedly suffered.
Doctors have also tried to counter rumors that the COVID vaccine plays a role in Hamlin’s condition. Many have found that blunt force trauma to the chest, like Hamlin suffered just before his collapse, can cause sudden cardiac death. This is known as commotio cordis, a rare, extremely dangerous condition that is most common in young male athletes.
“I don’t like to speculate but as Antivax twitter goes wild I want to say that there is a condition called commotio cordis where a sudden blunt impact to the chest with no heart damage results in sudden death. Absolutely nothing to do with vaccinations,” @DrCanuckMD tweeted.
We crawl the web so you don’t have to.
Sign up for the Daily Dot newsletter to get the best and worst of the web delivered to your inbox every day.
*Initial publication: January 3, 2023 9:33 am CST
Claire Goforth is a staff writer at the Daily Dot and covers all topics related to politics and technology with a focus on far right and conspiracy theories.
https://www.dailydot.com/debug/damar-hamlin-vaccine-charlie-kirk-internet-worst-anti-vaxxers/ Far-right blame vaccine for Damar Hamlin collapse