Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin was given CPR and after collapsing on the field against the Cincinnati Bengals during Monday Night Football. Hamlin tackled Bengals receiver Tee Higgins in the first quarter and got up briefly before falling backwards to the ground.
An ambulance raced on the field to treat the safety, who was surrounded by players from both sides and treated for 16 minutes before being immobilized and taken off the field. Bills players prayed for their teammate after he was driven away.
Hamlin has a pulse but is not currently breathing on his own, according to Joe Danneman of FOX19 Now in Cincinnati. The report also said that the 24-year-old was treated with an automated external defibrillator, and was being transported to the University of Cincinnati hospital.
During the lengthy and scary ordeal, the ESPN Monday Night Football broadcast cut to commercial on four occasions as Hamlin was receiving treatment. Hamlin was given oxygen in the ambulance, and the game was ultimately suspended temporarily as both teams headed back to their respective locker rooms.
‘When you bring CPR out, you’re trying to help someone breathe. We’re talking life or death now,’ he said. ‘That’s real. What we do is just a game. When you involve life and death, it’s totally different.’ ‘No one´s been through this,’ longtime NFL quarterback Troy Aikman added. ‘I´ve never seen anything like it, either.’ While medical personnel were gathered around Hamlin, his uniform was cut off.
Unsurprisingly, both sides appeared extremely startled by the situation, with the emotions of Hamlin’s teammates Stefon Diggs and Josh Allen among those shown on camera. Emotions also ran high for ESPN’s broadcast crew, as analyst Booger McFarland offered an important bit of perspective.
Footage emerged later of Hamlin’s ambulance arriving at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center. The 24-year-old Hamlin spent five years of college at Pitt his hometown and appeared in 48 games for the Panthers over that span. He was a second-team All-ACC performer as a senior, was voted a team captain and was picked to play in the Senior Bowl.
He was drafted in the sixth round by the Bills in 2021, played in 14 games as a rookie and then became a starter this year once Micah Hyde was lost for the season to injury. Entering the game, the 6-foot, 200-pound Hamlin had 91 tackles, including 63 solo tackles, and 1 1/2 sacks.