COLUMN: Hamlin’s collapse shows that athletes are people too


Rob Le Cates

Autumn Schulz is a junior sports media relations major and can be reached at 217-581-2812.

Autumn Schulz, Sports Editor

 Love for Damar. 

Those three words have been shared on social media numerous times over the last week. Even if one does not follow sports, it is hard to escape the amount of love and support that has been shown, especially on Twitter. 

The face behind the “Love for Damar” hashtag is 24-year-old Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin. Hamlin, just minutes into the Jan. 2nd Monday Night Football game, was hit by Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins in the chest area. 

Hamlin got back on his feet, took a few steps, and then fell backwards, seemingly unconscious.

According to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, “Damar experienced cardiac arrest and was promptly resuscitated by on-site club physicians and independent medical personnel.” 

The Buffalo Bills athletic training staff took quick action and performed CPR for nine minutes before Hamlin was intubated.

Goodell also explained at the time of the incident that “Damar was stabilized and transported to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center.” 

According to CNN, an average of 21.1 million viewers watched Hamlin die and be resuscitated, which is no record to celebrate. 

I remember getting on my phone as ESPN broadcasters Suzy Kolber, Adam Schefter, and Booger McFarland did their best to keep their composure and still deliver thoughtful insights and commentary about what was happening on the field. 

The picture of Buffalo quarterback Josh Allen’s face as Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow hugged him in sympathy will forever be burned into my brain. 

Hamlin has made a great recovery since his collapse as the medical staff in Buffalo will now be handling his recovery. 

In an Instagram post from the Bills, Hamlin’s doctor stated that “Damar walked his first lap around the hospital Friday and he’s on a normal accelerated trajectory. We continue to be ecstatic about his recovery.” 

Although there is a lot that can be taken away from what happened that Monday night, I still cannot help but wonder how we here at Eastern would handle something like this. 

I am not doubting the skills of the Eastern athletic training staff by any means but the fact that what happened to Hamlin can happen to any of our student athletes, not just football, is quite scary. 

Would there be a quick enough response? Are there enough staff members to handle an emergency such as a player collapsing? 

Of course, we never know how to truly handle an emergency until we are faced with one. 

However, I think it would be a good idea to practice or at least brush up on how to handle resuscitating a player. 

If collegiate teams do not have the same resources as professional teams, something needs to be changed. 

There is no reason as to why any team, at any level, should not have the proper resources to deal with what is in front of them, no matter how horrific. 

There were horrible comments made about Hamlin and the decision made by the NFL to cancel the game, even from sports broadcasters. “Fans” were upset that the game was canceled, and some were even outraged that it messed with their sports betting. 

Most people understand that there is a person behind each helmet and jersey, and we cannot take that for granted. 

Those players are out there for our entertainment, but they are still someone’s father, husband, brother, spouse, etc. 

I think “Love For Damar” has brought forth a lot of awareness, not only for injuries, but for the fact that athletes are people too.

Autumn Schulz can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]