It’s been over a week since the terrifying injury to Damar Hamlin and it’s safe to say that single injury may have changed the NFL forever. During the first quarter last week, the Buffalo …
It’s been over a week since the terrifying injury to Damar Hamlin and it’s safe to say that single injury may have changed the NFL forever.
During the first quarter last week, the Buffalo safety stepped up to make a routine tackle on Bengals receiver Tee Higgins, and what followed were perhaps the scariest moment on a football field in decades.
Usually after an injury, even serious ones, injured players will give a thumbs up, or show signs of how everything will be OK.
Spectators and players alike got none of that from Hamlin after the injury.
Instead, what we got was the horrified look of Bills and Bengals players on the sideline, fighting back tears—grown men openly sobbing on the field.
At this point, everyone began to realize the play in which Hamlin went down was anything but routine.
After the initial contact, Hamlin stood up, then collapsed and went completely limp.
In the crucial minutes following the injury, trainers and first responders rendered CPR and administered a defibrillator to resume Hamlin’s heartbeat.
As journalists, we’re trained to report whatever it is we’re covering with as much detail as possible and I’ve got to hand it to the ESPN crew, from Joe Buck and Troy Aikman in the booth, to Lisa Salters on the sidelines, to Booger McFarland, Adam Schefter and Suzy Kolbe did their best to continue coverage during the time until the game was canceled.
While print is nothing like broadcast, their professionalism can’t be overlooked.
One of the biggest issues I had with the whole ordeal was as soon as Hamlin was in the ambulance and transported off the field, both teams returned to their respective locker rooms and it was reported the NFL gave teams five minutes to get ready to return to play.
At this point, nobody knew the condition of Hamlin and I don’t care what level of sport you’re participating, seeing someone receive CPR can 100% take you out of the mindset to play.
But the almighty greenback rules all and there’s no doubt the NFL wanted to resume play against arguably one of the biggest games of the year between two Super Bowl contenders.
In the week since the injury, Hamlin has shown remarkable improvement and was extremely active on Twitter during the Bills’ regular season finale against New England on Sunday.
At the end of the day, football is a game.
Sure, there are inherent risks that can result in extreme bodily injury, or even death, as Hamlin nearly suffered.
But the outpouring of support for a single player has never really been seen in a national capacity.
During Sunday’s finale, teams across the NFL wore shirts in support of Hamlin and his recovery.
Speaking to Hamlin’s character, he’s a big supporter of donating for a toy drive and the support has reached his fundraising efforts as well.
At the time of this publication, Hamlin’s fundraiser has reached nearly $9 million.
I feel like at times, journalists, coaches, players and fans forget that football is a game.
Hamlin’s injury shook everyone who saw it to their core, from every aspect of the game.
From journalists covering the game, to fans in attendance, everyone was behind Hamlin and his recovery.
And that’s the kind of event that can leave lasting imprints on a game forever.
Chris Siers is sports editor of the Tribune. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.