Yesterday’s Monday Night Football game involved the Buffalo Bills and the Cincinnati Bengals in a match that had big implications for the playoffs, at least in terms of who might have a higher place.
But the game was cut short. Very short.
Buffalo Bills Safety Damar Hamlin, on a play, tackled a Bengal player. The hit didn’t appear particularly vicious yet after Hamlin got up, he collapsed to the ground. Medics came over and it was revealed he went into cardiac arrest.
To say the least, the situation was extremely tense as those medics attended to Mr. Hamlin and administered CPR. Ultimately, he was transported off the field in an ambulance. As of today, the day after, it is reported Mr. Hamlin is sedated and in critical condition at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center.
After some delay, the coaches and the NFL decided to suspend the game. Whether it will eventually be made up is to be determined, but given the grim circumstances involved in this situation, that seems like the thing people should be the very least worried about.
I love football. I find the sport exciting as hell. Paradoxically, I also feel the sport needs to be either changed considerably to make it safer or, if that’s not possible, done away with completely.
Because with each passing year, the athletes who play the game get stronger and faster and because of this the hits may get more and more vicious. At the rate things have been going, I have noted to friends that its only a matter of time before someone dies on the field.
This very nearly happened yesterday.
As I noted above and though the hit wasn’t particularly vicious, it caused Mr. Hamlin’s heart to effectively stop. Perhaps he has some kind of genetic predisposition or perhaps it was a one in a million hit, but the reality is that he very nearly died out there last night.
Yes, there have been vicious injuries which have occurred in football games over the years. There have been moments where medics have had to deal with players on the field. Earlier this year, Miami Dolphins Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa suffered a very scary concussion. It is at least the third concussion he’s suffered as he was out for this past Sunday’s game.
Again: I like football. I genuinely do.
But I wonder if it may be time to either look more intently at what can be done to improve player safety and reduce the possibility of such horrible injuries.
But… can this be done without changing what makes football such an exciting sport?
Therein lies the rub.
The alternative, though, is terrifying, especially if something like what happened yesterday happens again.