March 24, 2023

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Damar Hamlin of the Buffalo Bills is in critical condition after collapsing during an NFL game

CINCINNATI — Damar Hamlin, 24, in his second season with the Buffalo Bills, was in a critical condition in the hospital early Tuesday morning after collapsing on the field after colliding in the first quarter of a football game against the Cincinnati Bengals.

About nine minutes into the game Monday night, Hamlin tackled Bengals receiver T. Higgins after a 13-yard catch. Higgins rammed Hamlin at full speed, apparently hitting him in the head and chest. Hamlin quickly got up, took two steps, and collapsed backwards, his body limp.

Medical staff administered and attended to 10 minutes of CPR as players of both teams appeared visibly upset, some shedding tears on the sideline while others circled together and knelt in prayer. It appears that a medical professional administers an IV. Hamlin was later placed on a stretcher and taken to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center.

The fans present at Paycor Stadium, who had been largely silent during the ordeal, applauded as the ambulance departed.

Hamlin’s collapse was witnessed by millions of viewers who tuned in to the broadcast on ESPN’s “Monday Night Football.” Play was suspended for over an hour before National Football League officials announced that the game had been postponed.

“None of the coaches were talking about restarting play, and the players weren’t thinking about restarting play,” said Troy Vincent, NFL’s executive vice president of football operations. “How do you resume playing after witnessing such a traumatic event?”

Vincent said an emergency action plan was triggered after Hamlin was injured. Each stadium has specialists on hand, as well as an ambulance.

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Vincent said he and other league officials spoke with Sean Smith, the lead referee for the game who in turn talked to both coaches about giving the players the time they need.

There was no discussion of resuming play, he said, contradicting comments by Joe Buck, an ESPN play-by-play announcer, on air. Before the players returned to the dressing rooms, Buck said they were told they would have about five minutes to prepare to resume play. “That’s the word we’re getting from the league and the word we’re getting from downfield, but nobody’s moving,” Buck said.

“It wasn’t about continuing the game,” Vincent told reporters on a conference call early Tuesday. “The competitive aspect never crossed my mind, it never crossed my mind.”

An league spokesperson said the players, staff and the Bills plan to return to Buffalo Monday night. Vincent and other league officials said they have no plans yet to restart the game, which was halted with the Bengals leading 7-3.

the The NFL Players Association said in a statement He has been in contact with players from both teams and with the NFL “The only thing that matters at this moment is Damar’s health and well-being,” the statement said.

Hamlin, a second-year player recruited from Pittsburgh, has been in the starting lineup since September due to injuries at Buffalo High School. Within an hour of being admitted to the hospital, Driving a game spearheaded by the Hamlin Charitable Trust He has earned more than $650,000 via a crowdfunding site.

“The game is not important,” says JJ Watt of the Arizona Cardinals wrote in a post. “Damar Hamlin’s life matters. Please be alright. Please.”

Bills quarterback Josh Allen wrote: “Please pray for our brother.”

About 100 football fans gathered outside the University of Cincinnati Hospital to get information about Hamlin’s condition.

Janet Cole, 62, and her brother Chuck Cole, 56, said they were watching the game on TV when they saw Hamlin collapse. They drove 20 minutes to the hospital to pray.

“Immediately, the whole euphoria of being a Bengals fan was put into perspective,” said Chuck Cole. Because now we are talking about life or death.

Earlier in the first quarter, Bills cornerback Taron Johnson left the game with a head injury after attempting to tackle Bengals tight end Hayden Hurst. Johnson was attended to on the field by the team’s coaches for several minutes before he left.

Hamlin’s injury was the latest in a series of high-profile injuries this season that have prompted new criticism of the NFL about player safety. On Sunday, Indianapolis Colts quarterback Nick Foles left a game after being sacked by Giants linebacker Kavon Thibodeau, who celebrated the knockout as Foles appeared to convulse on the court. The holes were moved but inserted with a rib injury.

On September 29, Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa was taken to the hospital after hitting his head on the turf in a game against the Bengals. Tagovailoa immediately raised his hands and his fingers were spread apart, a gesture called “fencing responseIt could be a sign of a brain injury.

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Tagovailoa was diagnosed with a concussion and then again traveled with the team, but the moment prompted further interest in the investigation launched the week before, conducted jointly by the league and the NFL Players Association, into how the Dolphins responded after he appeared to suffer. from a concussion in a game against the Bills four days earlier.

The investigation found that the team followed the league’s concussion protocol, but the NFL and the players’ union agreed to modify procedures to prevent a player from returning to play if they display ataxia, a term describing poor balance or coordination resulting from the damage they sustained. brain or nerves. Under the previous protocol, players who showed “gross motor instability” — difficulty getting up or walking, for example — could return to play if doctors determined there was an orthopedic reason for their instability.

Tagovailoa was again diagnosed with a concussion after being sacked on December 25 in a game against the Green Bay Packers.

Emmanuel Morgan Reported from Cincinnati and Ken Bilson Reported from New York. Kevin Williams Contributed reporting from Cincinnati.