Damar Hamlin Collapses During NFL Bills vs. Bengals Matchup


Alex Chizzik, Staff Writer

Football: one of America’s most entertaining, spirited, and thrilling sports enjoyed by viewers. But Monday’s NFL game between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Buffalo Bills took a dangerous and chilling turn as Bills safety Damar Hamlin collapsed on the field during the first quarter of the game.

After being tackled in a play by Cincinnati Bengals receiver Tee Higgins, Hamlin stood up after the fall and took a few steps. After appearing alright for just a few seconds, he collapsed to the ground before medical professionals and teammates swarmed the field. Hamlin went into cardiac arrest and was administered CPR for multiple minutes. An ambulance drove onto the field and he received oxygen. Roughly 15 minutes later, the medical staff took Hamlin off the field in the ambulance, and he was then taken to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center.

After Damar Hamlin was escorted safely off the field, his condition was unknown to teammates, coaches, family, fans, and viewers watching at home all over the country. ESPN preliminary ratings show that this game between the Bills and Bengals was the the most-watched “Monday Night Football” game in all of ESPN history, averaging about 23.8 million viewers. Following Hamlin’s injury, the at-home audience grew by millions as coverage of his collapse was being shown.

Because Hamlin’s state was uncertain, everyone experienced a rush of emotions including fear, denial, and hope for the player’s safety. Bills players knelt together in a circle on the field, some praying and crying. Bengals coaches Zac Taylor and Sean McDermott met with game officials and made the decision to pause the game with the scoreboard reading 7-3 in favor of the Bengals. After the game was officially postponed, many players including Stefon Diggs and Zac Taylor went to the hospital on Monday night. In addition, Bills fans were accompanied outside the hospital by Bengals fans and Cincinnati citizens, showing the utmost support from their communities. People stayed outside, hoping and praying for Hamlin’s quick recovery. Football players and coaches from all teams across the league took to social media and expressed their thoughts and feelings. Among them, Josh Allen tweeted, “Please pray for our brother;” and Tee Higgins wrote, “My prayers and thoughts go out to @HamlinIsland and the Hamlin family. I’m praying that you pull through bro. Love.” In addition, Patrick Mahomes II wrote, “Praying hard… please be okay man.” The game’s play-by-play announcer, Joe Buck, described the event as a “nightmare” and said that “It certainly was nothing that anyone is ever prepared for. You have all that hype and buildup, and everyone can’t wait to watch this matchup, and in the snap of a finger it’s completely different. Football just goes out the window.” 

Who Is Damar Hamlin? And How Do We Watch Football After This? - The RingerThe 24-year-old safety played college football at the University of Pittsburgh and was selected during the sixth round of the 2021 NFL draft by the Buffalo Bills. Not only is Hamlin an esteemed and talented player, but he has also been successful in other areas. He started his own fashion line called Chasing Millions that encourages “a community of young hustlers.” Apart from these successes, he is greatly involved in philanthropy and seeks to give back to those less fortunate. In 2020, Hamlin started the Toy Drives mission in his hometown in Pittsburgh, so that during Christmas and around the holidays, children could receive toys and feel the joy and love from their community. Hamlin’s goal was to raise $2,500 to support this cause, and it took him roughly two years to do so. After the game that resulted in Hamlin being in critical condition on Monday night, it became one of the most popular and discussed stories in sports. In the first 24 hours following the incident, the GoFundMe page that was started to raise money for the toys became known and almost $5.5 million dollars was raised. During that first day, an average of 2.5 donations were made every second to this cause by fans, players, and people praying for Hamlin’s recovery.

Damar Hamlin was able to wake up and communicate with medical staff on Thursday. His first question he asked was who won Monday night’s game, and doctor Thomas Pritt replied that Damar “won the game of life.” With small signs of improvement and Hamlin remaining at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, we must hope and pray that he will persist and make a full recovery. Not only is Damar Hamlin a great asset to the game of football, but is also a role model and has proven to help humanity as we know it.