Damar Hamlin

What happened last night is horrifying.  In a way, it’s hard to comment on it without seeming hypocritical.  Football is a violent sport.  Players risk serious injury, and they do it for our entertainment.  The risk is part and parcel of what drives our passion, even if it’s something that we’d rather not have to think about.  Sure, nobody is holding a gun to players’ heads and they’re paid well for their efforts (in the NFL, at least).

Although I don’t think what happened to Hamlin is something any of us, including the players, consciously expects to be part of the bargain.  Or at least wants to be part of it.  But like I said, I’m not going to wallow in hypocrisy this morning by making some grand pronouncement about how they have to make the sport a lot safer.

Even so, I do have two points to make.  First, the people running the sport on both the professional and collegiate levels, who are making billions in their position, have an obligation to make sure that these same players have access to necessary health care and treatment for whatever happens to them as a result of their playing careers — and not just for the time they suit up, but for the entirety of their lives.

Second, to those who entertained the thought, however briefly, that play should have resumed last night after Hamlin was taken away from the stadium:  do better.

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50 Comments

Filed under The Body Is A Temple

50 responses to “Damar Hamlin

  1. Illini84

    He had a heart attack. In 1982 Illinois was playing Michigan State in an early season game and an official (a friend of my dad) died from cardiac arrest as he spotted the ball. Like Hamlin he was in as good a place as he could have been as far as emergency medical care. He didn’t make it but my old man said “he died doing what he loved.” https://www.nytimes.com/1982/09/12/sports/big-ten-official-stricken-dies.html

    Liked by 3 people

    • classiccitysteve

      Had to be what it was. The hit didn’t look like anything other than a regular football play, was nowhere near the lick Bullard laid on that OSU wideout.

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      • I thought that at first too. But it’s a little bit like the Earnhardt crash—it doesn’t look that bad until you realize what about it was so bad. Helmet right to the dead of the chest at the perfect time and with a ton of force.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. portillodawg

    Hi Senator, long-time reader and first-time caller. Medical professional here, my suspicion is something called commotio cordis. Basically he had an arrythmia caused by blunt trauma from Higgins’ helmet necessitating defib and CPR. I doubt he had any underlying cardiac conditions since I’m sure he had a perfect workup at the combine. Highly likely there’s going to be discussion about modifying the chest pads for better sternal protection. I wish Hamlin all the best and I really hope he makes it through unscathed.

    Liked by 16 people

  3. This has happened before in the NFL. In a 1971 game between the Detroit Lions and the Chicago Bears, wide receiver Chuck Hughes died of a heart attack on the field.

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  4. David D

    I don’t watch the NFL unless I want to take a nap. But I flashed over to the game on a whim about 30 minutes after the incident. It took over an hour for Roger Goodell to suspend the game. That decision should have been immediate. Idiot.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Granthams Replacement

    I’m hoping the shock of what happened was the reason the game wasn’t immediately canceled vs a conscience decision to continue.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hobnail_Boot

    Crises reveals our true nature.

    Prayers for the Hamlin family.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Dawg in Austin

    Hopefully they’ve got AEDs on the sidelines at all games and not back in the locker rooms. Time is tissue, as we say.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Texas Dawg

      At an NFL stadium you can almost be 100% sure they did and if they didn’t, they would have one in the ambulance. You even have them at most small-town recreational sports venues now. CPR is a great thing, but no replacement for an AED. The fact that medical help was right there on scene is probably the only reason he’s still alive and breathing.

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  8. Just awful. I agree with everything you wrote, Senator. Without changing the sport itself, the risk can’t be removed from the game. No one is going to come to stadiums or to watch guys playing 7 on 7 on TV. The sport is controlled violence with high-speed collisions just like hockey. Other sports (soccer and basketball come to mind) have grown in the collision nature of their sports. We are fortunate that more of these type of events like Daryl Stingley, Chuckie Mullins, or Hamlin don’t occur (the equipment manufacturers deserve a lot of credit for that). The big question is about the long-term impact of these collisions – CTE.

    Prayers up for Hamlin and his family.

    As for Goodell, the NFL owners should fire him today for mismanaging this episode.

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  9. The Truth

    I’ve never seen football players look so traumatized before. While some will argue that the delayed decision to postpone was to see if some really good news was going to immediately come from the hospital — a highly unlikely chance, IMO — the look on most of the faces on those grown men was enough to know they weren’t going to be able to get their minds right and regain their focus on a football game.

    “Get your head in the game!” How many times have we heard it. Those teams were incapable of doing it — and rightly so.

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  10. Can we do healthcare for pro, college, and HS? If not, how do we keep the sport going?

    Liked by 1 person

    • This is the crux of the situation to me, as well.

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    • gurkhadawg

      Not sure what you mean. He received CPR and defibrillation. That is all that can be done.

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      • football wears on you. It can be argued that the leagues have an obligation to provide healthcare to players and former players for football related wear and tear. NFL and NCAA may be able to afford to do that. I doubt many HS athletic associations can. So, how do you keep the sport going in that case?

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  11. RangerRuss

    Folks get injured and killed during operations of all types. Often the operation has to continue as it’s too important to be stalled by the tragic effects on one person.
    This ain’t one of those times. It’s a gotdam game.

    Liked by 10 people

    • Illini84

      I don’t get why time involved in the decision to postpone is such a big deal? It had no impact one his health outcome.

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      • PTC DAWG

        I’m sort of in this boat..

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      • Jack Klompus

        I see your point. However, there are optics involved in these situations, and immediately calling the game would have been the right decision. Not only from a PR standpoint but also from a player standpoint. Can you imagine your friend/brother almost dying on the field and then you’re left in limbo for 30 minutes wondering if you were going to have to play?

        That said, the NFL is typically not on the right side of making difficult decisions.

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  12. drunkenmonken

    It would not surprise me for the feds to get involved. Can you imagine osha compliant football games?

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  13. originaluglydawg

    There is a hazard in every step of life. But when tragedy is played out in real time on television we are stunned.
    Prayers for Hamlin and everyone touched by this.

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  14. Injuries are a given w/in the sport (any sport for that matter), I know Duh! However, there seemed to be an inordinate amount w/in the CFP games on Saturday. I believe that with the uptempo offenses there needs to be some player safety conciseness adjustments to pace of play. Fatigue in the latter stages of the season is a given regardless of conditioning. I predict with the advent of an expanded playoff it’s going to become an even greater issue. Powers that be give lip service to player welfare all the while cash grabbing and claiming it’s for the betterment of the sport. I’m naive to believe that anything will be done.

    Liked by 3 people

    • The Truth

      Totally with you on this, Quail. When the time for the cash grab was right, “we don’t want the kids to play too many games” just disappeared into the ether.

      Liked by 3 people

    • thelifeofthemind

      You can bet that if the players had any bargaining power (as they should) there’s no way the playoffs would be expanded. They don’t want all these extra games.

      Liked by 2 people

  15. dawg

    Elephant in the room

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  16. classiccitycanine

    I’m wondering if this event will revive the wave of health concerns that I thought was going to force football to transform itself as a sport. That concern seems to have subsided and that was the only way the health concerns would be addressed. Everyone knows that the suits at all levels of the sport have abdicated their responsibility to account for the health consequences and will not change if the public doesn’t demand it. Maybe it’s our fault that we keep consuming the product without demanding quality care of the participants in return…

    Liked by 1 person

  17. 123 Fake St

    Please stop trying to normalize this. FFS.

    Liked by 1 person

    • thelifeofthemind

      Normalize it in what sense? As much as we want the young man to be ok, at the same time, no one is asking “How could this happen?”

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  18. uga97

    Its a hard problem to solve. The nfl players’ union may very well need to pick this up to solve.

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