On Monday, January 2, the Buffalo Bills and Cincinnati Bengals geared up for a pivotal week 16 matchup. The clash between these two AFC titans on Monday Night Football was poised to be a great game, and as it began you could see why these are two of the most respected teams in football.
The Bengals received the opening kickoff, and quickly the reigning AFC champions struck gold in the form of a 14-yard touchdown to Tyler Boyd. On a 2nd down and 3 yards from the 1st-down from the 39-yard line, quarterback Joe Burrow completed a pass over the middle to receiver Tee Higgins, who, after a gain of 13 yards, was tackled by safety Damar Hamlin. On the 2nd-down play, Higgins barreled into Hamlin on the way down, and it looked like a routine tackle. After the play, Hamlin stood up and, a second later, collapsed to the ground. Paramedics immediately rushed to the field, and the severity of the situation was visible through a TV screen.
Players from both teams joined together in prayer around where Hamlin was being cared for by the medical staff. Many players on the field were brought to tears, and the sense of worry only grew. While all attention was on the health and well-being of Damar, there was still a game going on, and the National Football League had a decision to make. After a thirty-minute hiatus, the coaches came together, and for the first time in NFL history, a game was canceled mid-game. For hours the world was left without answers or updates about Hamlin’s condition.
Throughout his short career, Hamlin was beloved by anyone he encountered. A leader on and off the field, Hamlin is known to light up the room and enhance the spirits of everyone around him. At 1:48 a.m. on Tuesday, January 3, the Bills’ social media team released the first update. It read that on the field, Hamlin went into cardiac arrest, meaning both his heart and breathing were stopped, but through the efforts of the team’s training staff, his heartbeat was restored on the field. Hamlin was rushed to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, where he was put into intensive care. Two weeks later, on January 16, Hamlin’s progress was nothing short of miraculous. A short three days after the injury, Hamlin was already taken off his breathing tube, and true to his competitive nature, the first thing he said upon waking up was, “Did we win?” After that, the road was only uphill for Hamlin. On Wednesday January 11, he was released from the hospital. For those who go into cardiac arrest, the survival rate is a mere 12 percent. With the success of his recovery so far, Hamlin and the NFL community can owe it to the heroic and quick efforts of the paramedics on the field.
This could let us look at how CA is equipped to respond to an event if (God forbid) this were to happen to someone in our community. Looking around the school, the SHAC, and the Moriarty field house, you can see many defibrillators at the ready. Also, at all times on campus, CA has someone professionally trained to handle a cardiac arrest situation. As the world witnessed this moment that transcended sports, we could see how the value of a life is paramount to anything else. Even in our community, it is crucial to be mindful of everything happening because, as we saw in Cincinnati, tragedies can occur in the blink of an eye.