Video of Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen reacting to Damar Hamlin‘s collapse on the field during Monday Night Football on January 2 summed up the feeling across the NFL world, as the superstar put his hands over his face in distress, eyes red from crying.
Hamlin suffered a medical emergency during the primetime Week 17 matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals after a hard collision with Bengals receiver Tee Higgins with 5:58 left in the first quarter. Hamlin stood up after the hit but collapsed backward after taking a few steps.
ESPN reported, “CPR was administered to Hamlin on the field for multiple minutes. … 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.”
FOX19 reporter Joe Danneman tweeted, “I’m told Damar Hamlin has a pulse but is not breathing on his own. He is being transported to UC. Needed AED and CPR on the field.”
The entire Bills team made their way onto the field, unable to hold back tears, and praying for Hamlin to be okay.
Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow made his way onto the field to give Allen a hug and lend some support.
Former Super Bowl champion Damian Woody tweeted, “That look on Josh Allen’s face said it all to me. Players deal with a lot of gruesome things on the field but NOTHING like that!”
Former NFL linebacker Emmanuel Acho tweeted out a similar sentiment: “Allen’s emotion says it all. I wouldn’t be mad at all if they canceled the game. These players are humans not robots.”
Incredible worry was also palpable in Bills wide receiver Stefon Diggs, who let tears roll down his face as he took a knee and prayed at Paycor Stadium.
Several players were unable to look at Hamlin, 24, receiving medical help on the field. The Bengals’ entire team also cleared their bench to join the Bills squad on the field to pray. Bengals wide receiver Tyler Boyd sent out a message of support on Monday night, tweeting, “Love you 3 prayers 🙏🏾🙏🏾❤️ stay strong got your back always.”
Damar Hamlin’s Mother Escorted Her Son to the Hospital
Hamlin was transferred to UC 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, Danneman tweeted.
An NFL statement shared just after 10 p.m. Eastern time indicated Hamlin is in “critical condition” and a 10:30 p.m. update from Jordon Rooney, a friend and marketing rep for Hamlin, indicated Hamlin’s vital signs had been stabilized in the hospital.
At 1:48 a.m. Eastern time, the Bills’ Twitter account shared its latest update: “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.”
A second team update at 1:23 p.m. Eastern time on Tuesday confirmed Hamlin “spent the night in the intensive care unit and remains there today in critical condition.”
Amid the delay of the game and extreme concern for Hamlin’s health, a video of Hamlin greeting his mom at a game in November went viral.
Hamlin, a Pennsylvania native, played college ball at Pittsburgh before getting drafted by the Bills in the sixth round of the 2021 NFL draft.
Analysts & Viewers Called for Bills-Bengals Game to Be Canceled
The NFL took more than an hour to postpone the game.
Syracuse.com’s Matt Parrino tweeted, “I can’t fathom how the NFL expects to ask these players to come out here and play this game with what just happened, and after watching them all react to the horrific scene. Cancel the game.”
As the delay continued, USA Today’s Bradley Gelber tweeted, “Feels like at this point the NFL is just figuring out logistics on what happens going forward with this game. Seems like it’s a foregone conclusion football won’t be played tonight.”
CBS Sports reporter Aditi Kinkhabwala tweeted, “Dawn Aponte, the #NFL’s chief administrator of football operations, is right there in Cincinnati. A decision to suspend this game can definitely be made.”
Just after 10 p.m. Eastern time, the broadcast announcers officially declared that gameplay would not continue on Monday night.
Per ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the NFLPA put out the following statement: “The NFLPA and everyone in our community is praying for Damar Hamlin. We have been in touch with Bills and Bengals players, and with the NFL. The only thing that matters at this moment is Damar’s health and well being.”