The National Football League’s Monday Night Football matchup between the Buffalo Bills and Cincinnati Bengals was abruptly halted in the first quarter and has since been postponed indefinitely following a serious on-field medical emergency incident.
Bills safety Damar Hamlin collapsed after suffering a cardiac arrest and technically died but was resuscitated by paramedics using CPR and a defibrillator device, the Washington Examiner reported.
“His heartbeat was restored on the field”
In a post to Twitter in the early hours of Tuesday morning, the official account of the Buffalo Bills provided an update on the health status of Hamlin which revealed that his heartbeat had stopped but had been “restored” while still on the field.
“Damar Hamlin suffered a cardiac arrest following a hit in our game versus the Bengals. His heartbeat was restored on the field and he was transferred to the UC Medical Center for further testing and treatment. He is currently sedated and listed in critical condition,” the team said.
Damar Hamlin suffered a cardiac arrest following a hit in our game versus the Bengals. His heartbeat was restored on the field and he was transferred to the UC Medical Center for further testing and treatment. He is currently sedated and listed in critical condition.
— Buffalo Bills (@BuffaloBills) January 3, 2023
On Wednesday afternoon, the team posted another update on Hamlin and stated, “Damar remains in the ICU in critical condition with signs of improvement noted yesterday and overnight. He is expected to remain under intensive care as his health care team continues to monitor and treat him.”
Collapsed following a routine play
According to the Associated Press, the incident occurred after the Bills’ Hamlin tackled Bengals’ wide receiver Tee Higgins and, in the process, took a blow directly to his chest from Higgins’ shoulder, which appeared to be little more than a routine play.
Indeed, Hamlin jumped up immediately after the play was over, only to then fall over backward and remain motionless on the field. He was then immediately tended to by team staff and independent medical personnel, which included the use of CPR, oxygen, and a defibrillator prior to him being loaded into an ambulance and transported to the hospital.
Players from both teams were obviously stunned and shaken by what had occurred, and eventually retreated to their respective locker rooms after the ambulance had left with Hamlin. About an hour after the incident had occurred it was finally announced that the game, which had only just started, had been suspended indefinitely and postponed until an unspecified date.
There had been some initial rumors that the NFL had tried to get the players to resume the game following the incident, but NFL executive Troy Vincent disputed that rumor as something that “never crossed our mind,” and told the media, “That’s ridiculous. That’s insensitive. That’s not a place we should ever be in.”
“Insensitive” or not, there will have to be some talk of resuming the game at some point in the near future, as both the 12-3 Bills and 11-4 Bengals are top contenders for the championship and the outcome of their postponed game is crucial to determining the seeding of the NFL playoffs that are scheduled to begin on Jan. 14.
Outpouring of support for Hamlin and his charity
As heartbreakingly tragic as the medical emergency for Hamlin has been, there has been at least one significant bright spot that has emerged in the aftermath — an astonishing outpouring of financial support for a charity Hamlin had previously established to provide toys for underprivileged children in his hometown community near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
The GoFundMe account for Hamlin’s Chasing M’s Foundation community toy drive, which had an initial goal of raising just $2,500, currently sits at nearly $6.9 million.
It is obviously hoped by all that Hamlin will soon recover from his cardiac arrest incident, and while he certainly is not yet clear of danger, he has already shown some positive signs. Jordan Rooney, a personal friend and family representative, told the media of Hamlin, “All I can say is he’s fighting; he’s a fighter.”