Sports fans rallied around Damar Hamlin after the Buffalo Bills safety collapsed on the field during the January 2 game against the Cincinnati Bengals.
The then-24-year-old athlete suffered cardiac arrest after tackling Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins at approximately 8:55 p.m. ET during the first quarter. While he initially stood up, he collapsed moments later, and medical professionals rushed to him on the field. After conducting nearly 10 minutes of CPR, Hamlin’s “heartbeat was restored on the field,” per the Bills. Sports Illustrated reported at the time that Hamlin’s ambulance left Paycor Stadium in Ohio at 9:25 p.m. ET.
“He was transferred to the UC Medical Center for further testing and treatment,” the team’s official Twitter explained on January 3. “He is currently sedated and listed in critical condition.”
The game was “temporarily suspended” with the Bengals winning 7-3 and 5:58 remaining in the first quarter before it was officially postponed. While the ESPN broadcasters stated that players were given a five-minute warm-up period and told to resume play, NFL executive vice president Troy Vincent denied that the NFL wanted to continue the game.
“I’m not sure where that came from,” Vincent said in a conference call, per multiple outlets. “Frankly, there was no time period for the players to get warmed up. Frankly, the only thing that we asked was that (referee) Shawn (Smith) communicate with both head coaches to make sure they had the proper time inside the locker room to discuss what they felt like was best. So, I’m not sure where that came from – five minutes warm up never, never crossed my mind, personally. And I was the one – I’m saying ‘I’ not to be selfish – but the one that was communicating with the commissioner. We never, frankly, it never crossed our mind to talk about warming up to resume play. That’s ridiculous. That’s insensitive, and that’s not a place that we should ever be in.”
In addition to fans and celebrities sending their well-wishes to Hamlin, past and current NFL players were quick to take to social media to react.
“Please pray for our brother,” Bills quarterback Josh Allen tweeted.
Chicago Bears QB Justin Fields wrote, “Prayers up … “
“Please be OK man. Please be OK,” Arizona Cardinals’ defensive end J.J. Watt posted.
Minnesota Vikings QB Kirk Cousins wrote, “Praying for Damar Hamlin and his family.”
The Bengals’ official Twitter account added, “Sending our thoughts and prayers to Demar.”
The professional athlete was discharged from the Ohio hospital on January 9 and transported to Buffalo. He continued to share his recovery duty via social media in the months that followed.
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