UNITED STATES—Damar Hamlin, Buffalo Bills Safety suffered a horrific situation during Monday Night Football while the Buffalo Bills were playing against the Cincinnati Bengals. It was a moment for anyone who was watching that football game will never forget. You see players get injured and be carted off the field, but this was a bit different. Hamiln, 24, took a hit, got up and then fell back down. Players from both the Bills and Bengals surrounded Hamlin as paramedics and medical professionals treated him on the field.
You could feel the fear in the air. Watching the players in tears worried about their teammate and colleague, people in stands waiting with baited breathe. If you were watching the game it was the longest moment of silence hoping all was well with Hamlin. He was not breathing; the world would later learn that he went into cardiac arrest after the hit that he took.
His actual heart stopped breathing and medics were forced to use a defibrillator to restart Hamlin’s heart. He was later rushed to the hospital where he is listed in critical condition. This has been the buzz story of the hour, but it does indeed raise a major question that has been posed for years: is the game of football dangerous?
There has been talk about how the contact support has led to concussions and brain damage for players, and that issue of CTE (Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy). Even Hollywood dabbled with the issue making a movie about CTE. However, even that movie didn’t have much of an impact of changing the dynamics of the sport. Football is actually America’s favorite pastime sport, not baseball. Go ahead and disagree with me on that claim.
Football is a contact sport and has always been rather its little league, high school, college or professional sports, the notion of players not striking and hitting on another I just don’t seeing it happen, but perhaps the latest injury to Hamlin will raise the long sought after question: more protection is needed for players. Hell, I have witnessed some players get struck and I question how they didn’t break a leg, an arm, a rib, a foot or so much more.
Some of the hits that some of these players take and deliver are wicked and I mean wicked. You can literally get the breath knocked out of you and that is damn scary. The only thing I kept thinking was please let this kid survive because if tragedy happens on the field, there could be massive policy changes in the NFL. If something were to happen to Damar, the sport of professional football as we know would be revised and it might be a good thing. How about more safety equipment to protect the players, how about ensuring the contact is not as wicked as it has been in the past and its current play?
Those are all options, but that does not seem to be the primary focus. Dare I say the sport is dangerous? It is, but no one wants to talk about that as people point out in changes the dynamic of the sport if you eliminate contact. It is deemed a man’s man sport and if that changes the NFL as we know it completely changes in the process.
Ok, what about us attempting to save the lives of these players because I don’t care what anyone says, if you’re getting knocked around multiple times during a 3 to 4 hour game it is going to have an impact on your body and you brain in particular because the only thing protecting you is a helmet. This is a sport where the players make millions, but the owners make billions.
Think about that for a moment people because it’s a massive impact on pocket books, but I think safety should be a top tier concern over the money that is made. If people check out on the sport because the level of physical activity drops significantly so be it. The sport can still be entertaining, so that should not immediately change things, but this incident is telling us changes have to be made. We love football as it is, but changes can be made to ensure these players are protected because they are entertaining us and at the same time placing their lives on the line.