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Bills’ Damar Hamlin in Critical Condition

Bills safety Damar Hamlin experienced a cardiac arrest after collapsing during the first quarter of Buffalo’s Monday night game against the host Cincinnati Bengals, and he was hospitalized in critical condition as of early Tuesday morning.

The NFL postponed the contest after a lengthy stoppage as Hamlin was being treated on the field. He received CPR and eventually taken off the field via ambulance.


Hamlin, who collapsed after making a tackle, was transported to University of Cincinnati Medical Center. The Bills released a statement early Tuesday morning that read, “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.” According to the American Heart Association’s website, “A heart attack is when blood flow to the heart is blocked. Sudden cardiac arrest is when the heart malfunctions and suddenly stops beating. A heart attack is a ‘circulation’ problem and sudden cardiac arrest is an ‘electrical’ problem.”


The NFL said in a statement announced that the decision to halt the game was made with the agreement of the NFL Players Association. Hamlin’s marketing representative, Jordon Rooney, later tweeted, “Update on Damar: His vitals are back to normal and they have put him to sleep to put a breathing tube down his throat. They are currently running tests. We will provide updates as we have them.” UC Health, which includes the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, did not expect to make any further statements Monday night, The Athletic reported.


It wasn’t immediately known when or if the game would be resumed. The Bengals were leading 7-3 when action was suspended with 5:58 left in the first quarter, more than 20 minutes after Hamlin collapsed. In a conference call with reporters early Tuesday morning (Eastern time), executive vice president of communications, public affairs and policy and health and safety initiatives Jeff Miller said the league would make a determination about the fate of the game at “an appropriate time.” Also on the conference call, NFL executive vice president of football operations Troy Vincent said the Bills were flying back to Buffalo overnight, though some players were staying behind to be close to Hamlin.


The Bengals released a brief statement on Twitter: “The game has been postponed. We will provide further information as details become available.” An ambulance was brought onto the field a few minutes after Hamlin, 24, fell to the ground, not moving. He was removed from the field approximately 15 minutes after collapsing. Hamlin tackled Cincinnati’s Tee Higgins after a 13-yard gain to the Bills’ 48-yard line. He got up and took a step before falling backward to the ground.


Players from both teams crowded into the area near midfield as Hamlin was being worked on. Some emotional Buffalo players were crying. Both teams went into the locker room once play was suspended. Approximately 50 minutes after Hamlin’s injury, Bills coach Sean McDermott and Bengals coach Zac Taylor were outside of their locker rooms and taking turns talking on the phone. Shortly after that call, the Bills were seen removing their equipment from the field. The announcement of a suspended contest was made minutes later.


The NFLPA later tweeted, “The NFLPA and everyone in our community is praying for Damar Hamlin. We have been in touch with Bills and Bengals players, and with the NFL. The only thing that matters at this moment is Damar’s health and well being.” Higgins posted on Twitter, “My prayers and thoughts go out to @HamlinIsland the Hamlin Family. I’m praying that you pull through bro. Love (prayer hands emoji) (heart emoji)” Hamlin’s injury cast a pall inside Paycor Stadium, which was rocking with energy for a showdown between two of the top three teams in the AFC. The Bills are 12-3, the Bengals are 11-4.


Hamlin, a second-year pro, has 92 tackles and 1.5 sacks this season. He was a sixth-round pick in 2021 from Pitt. The NFL is widely reported to have experienced just one on-field death in its history. Detroit Lions wide receiver Chuck Hughes had a heart attack during a game against the visiting Chicago Bears on Oct. 24, 1971. He received treatment on the field before he was taken by ambulance to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

–Field Level Media

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