Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin suffered a medical emergency during the Week 17 primetime Monday Night Football matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals after tackling Bengals receiver Tee Higgins with 5:58 left in the first quarter. Hamlin, who remained in critical condition Tuesday morning, briefly stood up after the hit but collapsed backward after taking a few steps.
While there’s a nationwide concern for Hamlin’s status, NFL analysts and fans are also deeply concerned for Higgins’ mental health. Higgins, who was drafted by the Bengals in the second round of the 2020 NFL draft and has already recorded over 1,000 receiving yards in 2022, was seen hugging his mother, Camillia Stewart, in the hallways at Paycor Stadium after the game was officially postponed by the NFL just after 10 p.m. Eastern time, according to Bengals beat reporter Kelsey Conway.
After Hamlin was hospitalized, 23-year-old Higgins sent out an emotional tweet and tagged the Bills’ second-year safety. Higgins tweeted, “My prayers and thoughts go out to @HamlinIsland the Hamlin Family. I’m praying that you pull through bro. Love 🙏🏾💙.”
Higgins’ tweet quickly went viral, racking up over 150,000 likes with support pouring in from both fan bases. Bills Mafia co-founder Del Reid wrote back, “You’ve got a lot of prayer coming your way as well, man. None of this is on you. Don’t let those thoughts creep in or linger ❤️,” while Bengals reporter Blake Jewell responded, “Hope you’re doing okay Tee.”
CBS Sports digital reporter Allan Bell tweeted, “While you pray for Damar say one for Tee Higgins too. Just being involved in the play can wreck your mentals and emotions. Pray for them all.”
One fan tweeted, “As much as I feel for Damar Hamlin and his loved ones, my heart also breaks for Tee Higgins, the other young man involved in the play. Higgins did nothing wrong, and I hope his loved ones are helping him to understand and accept that.” The Power Hour host Rennae Stubbs tweeted to Higgins, “Wasn’t your fault Tee. Just a football play. A one in a million chance.”
WGR 550’s Sal Capaccio offered some heartbreaking insight as to what it was like to be on the sidelines when Hamlin went down. Capaccio tweeted, “I’m struggling to find the words to tell you how emotional it was on the field, and especially Bills sideline tonight. The tears that poured from player’s and coach’s faces. Grown men we often see as larger and tougher than life, crying, embracing one another.”
The Bills Provided an Official Update on Hamlin’s Health Status
The Bills provided an official update on Hamlin’s status at 1:48 a.m. Eastern time Tuesday, January 3.
“Damar Hamlin suffered a cardiac arrest following a hit in our game versus the Bengals. His heartbeat was restored on the field and he was transferred to the UC Medical Center for further testing and treatment. He is currently sedated and listed in critical condition.”
On Tuesday afternoon, the Bills released a second official update which stated, “Hamlin spent last night in the intensive care unit and remains there today in critical condition at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center. We are grateful and thankful for the outpouring of support we have received thus far.”
On Monday evening, Hamlin’s marketing representative Jordon Rooney tweeted, “His vitals are back to normal and they have put him to sleep to put a breathing tube down his throat. They are currently running tests. We will provide updates as we have them.”
Hamlin, who took over the starting safety position after Micah Hyde got injured in Week 2, was taken to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, the only Level 1 trauma center in the area, the ABC commentator announced during the live broadcast. Hamlin’s mother was in Cincinnati for the big game and traveled with her son to the hospital, per FOX 19’s Joe Danneman.
Before the 24-year-old safety was transported from the field by ambulance, “CPR was administered to Hamlin on the field for multiple minutes,” ESPN reported. “He received oxygen, according to the ESPN broadcast, as he was placed in the ambulance and taken off the field some 16 minutes after he collapsed.”
Bills quarterback Josh Allen, wide receiver Stefon Diggs and several of Hamlin’s teammates were seen crying and kneeling to pray while Hamlin was tended to by medical professionals. The entire Bengals bench cleared to offer support to the emotionally distraught Bills players.
Some Bills Players Remaining in Cincinnati ‘to Be Near Hamlin’: Report
While “Buffalo team busses were seen arriving at the airport” on Monday night, per WKRC Local 12 reporter Brad Underwood, ESPN’s Adam Schefter clarified on Twitter, “NFL executive vice president of football operations Troy Vincent said the Bills are returning to Buffalo tonight, but that some players are choosing to remain in Cincinnati to be near Damar Hamlin.”
Wide receiver Stefon Diggs was seen arriving at the UC Medical Center, located approximately 2 miles from the stadium, to be with his teammate.
Hamlin’s teammates filled social media with messages of love and support. Allen tweeted, “Please pray for our brother,” while tight end Dawson Knox wrote, “Prayer is real, and it’s powerful. Constantly praying for Damar and his family.”