Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin collapsed on the field and was administered CPR before being driven away in an ambulance during his team’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals, which was suspended after the injury.
Hamlin collided with Bengals receiver Tee Higgins after a completion. He got to his feet, appeared to adjust his face mask with his right hand, and then fell backward about three seconds later and lay motionless.
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Hamlin was surrounded by stunned players from both teams. The ambulance was on the field four minutes after Hamlin collapsed, with many players in tears, including cornerback Tre’Davious White. The quarterbacks — Buffalo’s Josh Allen and Cincinnati’s Joe Burrow — embraced.
When Hamlin was taken off the field 16 minutes after he collapsed, the Bills gathered in prayer. He was driven to University of Cincinnati Medical Center.
Hamlin’s uniform was cut off and he appeared to be getting CPR from medical personnel. ESPN reported on its telecast that Hamlin was also given oxygen.
“No one’s been through this,” longtime NFL quarterback Troy Aikman said on the ESPN telecast. “I’ve never seen anything like it, either.”
The game was suspended 21 minutes after Hamlin collapsed. Players walked off the field slowly and into their locker rooms.
The aftermath of the injury was reminiscent of when Bills tight end Kevin Everett lay motionless on the field after making a tackle on the second-half opening kickoff in Buffalo’s 2007 season-opening game against the Denver Broncos.
Everett sustained a spinal cord injury that initially left him partially paralysed.
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.
A tweet from the Pitt football account was simple and clear: “Damar Hamlin is the best of us. We love you, 3,” the tweet said, referring to Hamlin by his college jersey number. “Praying for you.”
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