It was a devastating and shocking scene at the Buffalo Bills vs. Cincinnati Bengals game on Monday night. In the first quarter, Bills safety Damar Hamlin, 24, collapsed on the field after suffering cardiac arrest. He received CPR and oxygen on the field for multiple minutes before being taken off in an ambulance.
The Bills released a statement early Tuesday morning saying that Hamlin was in critical condition and sedated at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center. The game was postponed at the 90-minute mark and the Bills team remained at Paycor Stadium until after midnight before returning to Buffalo.
The injury occurred after Hamlin tackled Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins following a reception over the middle. Higgins led with his right shoulder and hit Hamlin in the chest. Hamlin quickly got up and was on his feet for about three seconds before collapsing. Athletic trainers rushed to help and a stretcher was brought out to the field.
The entire Bills sideline surrounded Hamlin as he received care. Many players were visibly distressed and comforting one another as he was being cared for. After Hamlin exited the field, the Bills players knelt together in a circle and then returned to the sideline. The Bengals coach, Zac Taylor, then approached the Bills coach Sean McDermott and the decision was made to postpone the game.
The NFL did not provide an update on potentially rescheduling the game as the league enters the final week of its regular season. Bills quarterback Josh Allen asked for prayers, and Higgins sent his own to Hamlin and his family.
Damar Hamlin was selected in the sixth round of the 2021 NFL draft out of Pittsburgh, with the Bills taking him with the No. 212 overall pick. He had been starting for the Bills this season in place of injured safety Micah Hyde and had become a vocal leader on the team.
The reaction from the sports world to Hamlin’s cardiac arrest was quick and overwhelming. The NFLPA released a statement saying that everyone in their community was praying for Hamlin and that the only thing that mattered was his health and well-being. His foundation, Chasing M’s, had been raising money for a toy drive and donations surged to more than $3 million.