By: Austin Fang
On Monday, January 2, in a game between the Cincinnati Bengals, Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin suffered cardiac arrest after getting hit in the chest while trying to tackle Bengals wide receiver, Tee Higgins.
Midway through the first quarter, with the Bengals up 7-3, Higgins made a catch and was tackled by Hamlin. Hamlin took two steps and collapsed, suffering cardiac arrest. First responders performed CPR on him, and he was soon taken to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center for treatment. Hamlin was reported as in “critical condition” and had just suffered a life-threatening hit.
Everyone in attendance - the players, the fans, the referees, the coaches - all were shocked and despondent. The thousands of Bengals fans in the stands watched in fear as ambulances picked up Hamlin and took him to the hospital. The Bills players were all on their knees, crying and praying for their fellow players.
“It was a nightmare. 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.” stated Joe Buck, the game’s play-by-play announcer.
On Thursday, the NFL announced that the game would be canceled.
Medical officials assumed that the cardiac arrest was caused by arrhythmia, an extremely rare condition where the chest is struck during the 20 millisecond period while it relaxes.
So far, Hamlin has made progress. His breathing tube has been removed and he can now talk to his friends and family via video chat and letters. On Friday, the Bills team gave him a standing ovation when he called through video chat.
This Sunday, the Bills (12-3) will play the New England Patriots (8-8), while the Bengals (11-4) will play the Baltimore Ravens (10-6).