When Bills’ Damar Hamlin collapsed, the NFL stopped and the whole country watched


Once, the NFL stopped. It stopped cold. Fear was inevitable, so relentless sport had to be done, even if it didn’t really want to: Buffalo at his Bills safety Monday night in front of national television viewers. A certain Dummer Hamlin fell. he didn’t wake up Violence could not be minimized.

Hamlin, 24, from McKee’s Rocks, Pennsylvania, became a starter in September after a teammate suffered a neck injury. When he tackled wide receiver Tee Higgins, he absorbed a blow to his chest. After getting up, he fell backwards. Then, desperately rushing to resuscitate a young man who had just hugged his parents during the pre-match warm-up, he needed CPR, a stretcher and an ambulance. Amidst the confusion, the players’ reactions made it clear that the situation had become dire.

Buffalo quarterback Josh Allen froze, his hands over his mouth and his eyes wide open. Wide receiver Stephon Diggs cried and shook his body. Cornerback Tredavius ​​White put his hands on his head and as tears dripped from his dark eyes, he said incredulous. The entire Bills team knelt in prayer as the ambulance drove away.

Hamlin collapsed at 8:55 pm Eastern time. For the next 66 minutes, sports didn’t matter as medical personnel transported him from Peycole Stadium to the hospital and NFL officials made the hasty decision to suspend the game. One of the most anticipated, Week 17 face-offs that would have a big impact on the AFC’s No. 1 playoff seed, it didn’t play. There was no “next man up” mentality on the night as Hamlin was fighting for his life. There will be no next play.

In the great American tradition of Monday Night Football, we witnessed one of the most chilling moments in the history of televised sports. A play where terrible things can happen at any time in any game. But it happened on the most spectacular stage — during the only professional football game of the night, the last Monday night game of the season. It was a reminder of the constant brutality of sport. We had to deal with the harsh realities of this beloved game.

Football doesn’t happen to be a violent sport. It is an inherently vicious sport that many spectators consider to be justifiably brutal.most people don’t enjoy it apart from constant clashes.they love it because One of them. It’s amazing how throughout its history the game has avoided many scary scenes. But no matter how well the coaches teach the proper fundamentals or how well the players are trained to control their attacks, this is the nature of the sport.

The addiction to it is so strong that even moments as traumatic as this don’t scare the crowd. not. However, balancing obsession with appropriate concern for the human risks involved is a caveat.

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Hamlin became the starter in Week 3 after safety Micah Hyde suffered a neck injury in Buffalo’s 41-7 win over the Tennessee Titans on Sept. 19. Hyde, who had a history of neck problems, had to be taken off by ambulance. He is unlikely to return this season. A month after the incident, Hyde revealed how scared he had been.

“It was an eye-opener for me to see what happened that Monday night,” Hyde told reporters in October. Anything can happen every night, but jumping in an ambulance after or during the game and going to the hospital with my wife was just a sight to behold. And it was kind of scary because life was put in front of me.”

For some reason, players hide their fears and perform every week. Then they see that one of the brothers won’t get up.

During the live ESPN telecast, former NFL defensive lineman Anthony “Booger” McFarland tried to brace himself, as did studio host Susie Kolver and reporter Adam Schefter. The sentiment was palpable as he covered most of his 66 minutes before the match was officially suspended at 10:01 p.m. As they spoke, they were processing unprecedented things. It felt like an all-nighter. It was painfully meaningful TV.

“Football is entertainment,” McFarland once said. “Nobody wants to have fun tonight. …Tonight’s football is over. Let’s move on.”

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“The emotions we’re going through tonight are really hard to describe,” Kolber said.

For this moment, it was good. It was the real NFL, not a well-crafted Gladiator glorification that normalized pain and human expendability.

ESPN analyst Ryan Clarke, a former NFL safety officer, said, “All you can think about is good things.” “Nobody ever visualizes anything bad.”

Clark gushed past midnight on “SportsCenter.”

“That’s not what we do when we wake up in this game,” Clark said of players dealing with trauma. “It’s not what we’re conditioned to go on with. And it’s clear [Bills Coach] with Sean McDermott [Bengals Coach] Zach Taylor meets in the middle of the field or in a tunnel and says, “This can’t be done.” They couldn’t put these men back on the field and do something they were built to spend a lifetime with no one having to deal with what Dumar Hamlin is dealing with tonight They didn’t tell us this. I will not talk about this. we will not talk about this. This is fine because they are not trying to build us up enough. Because it’s not actually okay. “

As medical staff surrounded Hamlin on the field, Buffalo cornerback Shiran Neal walked a few yards away, crying, shaking, and tugging at his jersey and shoulder pads. He bowed his head to his knees, and his teammates, who were driving back Naiheim Hines, crouched down to console him.

They stayed on the grass, hugged, worried about Hamlin, indifferent to football. Until further notice, the game must yield to this affliction.

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