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NFL fumbles safety: Damar Hamlin’s near-fatal injury

By Andrew Duval Feb. 15, 2023

Kailey Hu Art

On January 2, Buffalo Bills player Damar Hamlin, a young and promising safety collapsed after absorbing a hit while Tee Higgins of the Cincinnati Bengals, requiring immediate medical attention. Hamlin’s condition was severe: he went into cardiac arrest on the field and had to be revived by medical staff with 9 minutes of CPR and supplemental oxygen. Later, he was taken to a nearby hospital and placed on a ventilator. This incident has caused many in the sports industry to question safety standards, how situations like this should be handled, and the mental toll of sports.

“I think sports associations need to do more to protect the health and safety of their players because player safety is most important,” said Junior Rayan Sengupta.

9 minutes after the injury, the game was halted. On Jan 9, the NFL announced that the game would not be resumed. The injury prompted a variety of reactions. According to Forbes, “Former NFL players and their advocates are hoping that Damar Hamlin’s terrifying heart attack during a January 2 nationally televised game will help shine a light on how the league treats the vast majority of applications for disability pay.” NFL players who apply for disability pay are often met with many legal obstacles.

Hamlin’s injury did bring attention to how the league treats its disabled and injured players, which may help make progress on that front. Unlike some other players in the NFL’s history such as Mike Cloud though, Hamlin will be receiving disability pay. In fact, Hamlin will receive his full salary this year, and more if needed.

“All I hope is that Hamlin gets the help and money that he needs to recover from this tragedy,” said Freshman Edward Chang.

As of January 28th, fellow players and fans have donated over $9 million to Hamlin’s charity, “The Chasing M's Foundation Community Toy Drive”. Over 200,000 donations were made to the GoFundMe page of the charity. Hamlin has been holding toy drives since 2020 every year and shared videos of his most recent one on his Instagram account.

Not all reactions to the injury were positive though. Sports Columnist Skip Bayless tweeted, “No doubt the NFL is considering postponing the rest of this game – but how? This late in the season, a game of this magnitude is crucial to the regular-season outcome.” Bayless received large amounts of backlash after his controversial tweet. Hall of fame wide receiver Terrel Owens said, “I hope you LOSE YOUR JOB!!” Later, Bayless apologized, claiming that his tweet was misunderstood and that Hamlin’s health is all that matters.

He also stated, “I’ve seen so many horrific injuries suffered on football fields…The attitude was, ‘Hey, that’s football.’ For these players, this was DIFFERENT.”

On January 11, Hamlin was released from the hospital. He was able to walk, talk, and had no signs of neurological damage. However, he still needs oxygen and regular heart monitoring. A long recovery lies ahead. Nevertheless, Hamlin appeared in the Bills’ locker room and cheered on his team during a game. In fact, CBS reports that Hamlin has been making regular visits to team facilities.

Kailey Hu Art

Hamlin has not stated whether he will be playing again, but due to his long recovery time and the fact that the Bills were eliminated in the playoffs, it’s safe to say that Hamlin won’t be playing in a Bills game this season. Many fans hope that in the future, Hamlin will be seen on the field once again surrounded by his teammates. However, his physicians say it’s too early to make these decisions. Some also believe that this incident will help progress the conversation about the NFL and how it treats its injured players.


About the Contributors

Andrew Duval

staff writer

Andrew Duval is a freshman staff writer for The Charger Account. He spends his spare time surfing Wikipedia, reading, and editing videos.

Kailey Hu

art director

Kailey Hu is a senior at Leland High school and is one of the Art Directors for The Charger Account. During her free time, she likes to spend her time drawing, going on walks, sewing, reading and crafting.

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