Damar Hamlin, Buffalo Bills safety, collapses after suffering cardiac arrest - 96.9 WINK FM

Damar Hamlin, Buffalo Bills safety, collapses after suffering cardiac arrest


The NFL said the Bills and Bengals game, suspended when Damar Hamlin collapsed after suffering cardiac arrest after a hit, won’t resume before Jan. 8.

The league posted on its Twitter page Tuesday afternoon, addressing what was happening with Hamlin.

“The NFL continues to be in regular contact with the medical team caring for Damar Hamlin and also the Bills and Bengals organizations and the NFL Players Association. After speaking with both teams and NFLPA leadership, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell informed the clubs today that the Bills-Bengals game will not be resumed this week. The NFL has made no decision regarding the possible resumption of the game at a later date,” the tweet said in part.

For the time being, the league has not changed the week 18 regular season schedule.

The 24-year-old Bills safety is sedated and getting treatment at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center after the game on Monday.

Hamlin suddenly collapsed after tackling Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins ending the play.

Medical personnel rushed to his side within 10 seconds and administered CPR.

Buffalo Bills’ Damar Hamlin is examined during the first half of an NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Monday, Jan. 2, 2023, in Cincinnati. The game has been postponed after Buffalo Bills’ Damar Hamlin collapsed, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced. (AP Photo/Joshua A. Bickel)

The Bills later confirmed Hamlin’s heartbeat was restored on the field.

But what are people locally, in Southwest Florida, thinking about what they saw when Hamlin collapsed?

Usually, when someone gets hurt, they go down and stay down, but that wasn’t the case with Hamlin.

After making the tackle, Hamlin stood up and collapsed, silencing all 65,515 seats at Paycor Stadium.

Hamlin began receiving attention from the first responders on duty within seconds.

Aghast, players on both teams watched in dismay. Fear and anxiety permeated the stadium while fans watched the moments drag on, utterly stunned.

The Buffalo Bills players pray for teammate Damar Hamlin during the first half of an NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Monday, Jan. 2, 2023, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Jeff Dean)

“The players were obviously distressed more so than I’ve ever seen any player distressed from other serious injuries I’ve been involved with on the field,” Jeff Rice, an NFL ref for 25 years, said.

Rice, serving as an official in three Super Bowls, has seen severe injuries on the field before, but not like what happened to Hamlin.

“When it’s a serious injury, our protocol is to get the players away, so the medical personnel have room to work. And if we have to cart them off on a cart or a truck, we want to be sure that they can get in and out quickly,” Rice said.

Instead, players surrounded Hamlin and the first responders, which told Rice about the severity of what was going on.

“That was indicative to me that this was not your normal serious injury. That this was a life-threatening thing,” Rice said.

Buffalo Bills players react as teammate Damar Hamlin is examined during the first half of an NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Monday, Jan. 2, 2023, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Jeff Dean)

Mike Tomlin, the Pittsburgh Steelers head coach, said on Tuesday he’d known Hamlin, who’s from Pittsburgh since he was 12.

Tomlin explained he appreciated how he grew as a football player and as a man.

“To watch their maturation, their development, to watch them earn what they’ve been chasing, it’s just really a cool thing. He’s an example of that. I got a lot of love for that young man,” Tomlin said.

Tomlin called what happened to Hamlin ‘really personal’ and that many players, both active and retired, feel the same way.

Hamlin remains in intensive care and critical condition.

His family released a statement thanking everyone for their prayers.

From the medical perspective, sudden cardiac arrest happens when an electrical malfunction in the heart causes an irregular heartbeat, also known as an arrhythmia.

Cardiac arrest means the heart stopped pumping and can happen for various reasons.

Nevertheless, everything points to the hit Damar Hamlin took just before collapsing.

Hamlin stood up after tackling Higgins, then collapsed.

Richard Chazal, a Lee Health cardiologist, saw the play and treatment Hamlin was getting and thought it was the right call.

“So, the most important thing in a cardiac arrest is rapid CPR and immediate defibrillation. That means shocking the heart to get it back into a normal rhythm. So it pumps again, and they had experts, they’re right on the scene that used an AED or an automatic external defibrillator,” Dr. Chazal said. “As best we know, we think it was an ad that was applied that shot his heart and got it back. And that’s a really good sign in the long run. Because the sooner that regular rhythm is restored in the heart returns to pumping, the better the prognosis is. It means a minimum amount of time, hopefully, that the brain was not getting oxygen.”

While what happened to Hamlin is extremely rare, according to Dr. Chazal, a blow to the chest at exactly the right time can disturb the heart rhythm and cause it to go into an irregular beat and then stop.

Another point to keep in mind, people were confused by Hamlin’s ability to stand briefly before collapsing.

Dr. Chazal said the injury already occurred, and it was possible his heart already stopped.

“Remember, this is a well-conditioned athlete whose normal heart rate is probably very low because his body is extremely efficient. He had a lot of epinephrine because he was excited,” Dr. Chazal said. “So, it’s conceivable and likely that when he stood up, his heart perhaps was already not beating. And it just took a moment for that drop in blood pressure to hit his brain to cause him to blackout.”

Also important to note, being an NFL player,  he’s undergone exams to make sure he had no discernable heart defects.

And, if there was a predisposition that contributed to Hamlin’s injury, it’s not something doctors could pick up beforehand.


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