The “Monday Night Football” game between the Buffalo Bills and Cincinnati Bengals was suspended in the first quarter after one of the most terrifying moments in NFL history.
Bills defensive back Damar Hamlin collapsed on the field after a hit in the first quarter. He was offered CPR for ten minutes before being taken off the field in an ambulance.
Hamlin, 24, suffered a cardiac arrest and is currently in critical condition, per a statement released by the Buffalo Bills via Twitter late Monday night.
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.
— Buffalo Bills (@BuffaloBills) January 3, 2023
The terrifying situation played out live on “Monday Night Football” around 8.55 p.m. ET when Hamlin tackled Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins early in the first quarter of the game. He swiftly popped back up before suddenly collapsing to the ground.
As medical personnel administered CPR to Hamlin, players for both teams knelt together in a circle on the field, with multiple Bills players openly weeping.
The 6’0″, 200-lb player was rushed to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, the closest trauma center to Paycor stadium. ESPN reported that his parents, mother Nina and father Mario, were on hand for the game and left with him in the ambulance.
Hamlin is reportedly intubated, and doctors are running tests, but “his vitals are back to normal,” Jordan Rooney, Hamlin’s marketing representative, wrote on Twitter an hour and a half after the collapse.
Update on Damar:
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.
— Jordon Rooney (@jordonr) January 3, 2023
An hour after Hamlin’s collapse, the NFL decided to suspend the game for the night.
“Tonight’s Buffalo Bills/Cincinnati Bengals game has been postponed after Buffalo Bills Damar Hamlin collapsed,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced in a statement.
“Hamlin received immediate medical attention on the field by team and independent medical staff and local paramedics. He was then transported to a local hospital where he is in critical condition.”
“Our thoughts are with Damar and with the Buffalo Bills.”
Troy Vincent, who played in the league for over a decade, also said in a press call that neither of the teams could continue playing after what had just happened.
“I’ve never seen anything like it since I’ve been playing,” Vincent said. “So immediately, my player hat went on. How do you resume play after you’ve seen such a traumatic event occur in front of you in real-time?”
“Never crossed my mind to talk about warming up to resume play,” he continued. “That’s ridiculous, insensitive, and not a place we should ever be in.”
“MNF,” in-studio anchor Suzy Kolber said it was tough, but they want everyone worldwide to know that Hamlin will be OK.
“It’s really tough. All we want, all everyone in this world wants is to know is that Damar Hamlin is going to be OK,” she said.
“This is about Damar Hamlin,” former NFL player and ESPN commentator Ryan Clark said during the broadcast. “It was about a young man at 24-year-old living his dream…and now he fights for his life.”
Fellow athletes and Bills supporters also sent their thoughts and prayers saying:
The thoughts and prayers of all of Bills Mafia are supporting you, Damar. ? pic.twitter.com/lDWNAOEPX4
— Buffalo Bills (@BuffaloBills) January 3, 2023
Sending our thoughts and prayers to Damar?
— Cincinnati Bengals (@Bengals) January 3, 2023
Demar Hamlin is a kind caring extremely hard worker. He is loyal honest and can always put a smile on your face. He is more than an athlete, he is a son and brother. I pray God gives him mercy and brings him back to us.
— Rodger Saffold (@Rodger_Saffold) January 3, 2023
I feel like he is going to pull through this. His supremely conditioned heart is pumping on its own, and oxygen is flowing thru his veins.
This kid is going to relearn to breathe on his own and will be coming back to live an even better life as an inspiration to all of us.
— Kev (@kman_101) January 3, 2023
My prayers and thoughts go out to @HamlinIsland the Hamlin Family. I’m praying that you pull through bro. Love ???
— Tee Higgins⁵ (@teehiggins5) January 3, 2023
Praying for Damar and his recovery. ??
Amazing effort and work by the medical personnel at the Bengals stadium and at UC Medical Center.
For how horrifying and hopeless it seemed when he collapsed … we witnessed a miracle tonight. Keep fighting Damar.
— Kelcey Brade (@KelceyBradeTSN) January 3, 2023
All love to Damar and the Hamlin family. The world is holding you tight in our arms and unite in prayers for a full recovery.
— Kiersten Crissman (@KierstenSlader) January 3, 2023
In the hours following Hamlin’s collapse, a Christmas toy drive fundraiser he started in 2020 raised over $3 million as it was flooded with donations from fans and supporters rooting for his speedy recovery.
Hamlin created the drive to raise funds to purchase toys for kids in a Philadelphia community, writing at the time, “As I embark on my journey to the NFL, I will never forget where I come from, and I am committed to using my platform to positively impact the community that raised me.”
Hamlin continued his yearly oy drive initiative in 2022 in Buffalo, signing autographs and jerseys for kids who stopped by.
“(It’s) something I’ve always been into, just giving back,” he shared with CNN affiliate WKBW in December, adding, “For three years, I’ve been doing the toy drive, so just being able to extend it to Buffalo now is just something I love doing.”
We wish Hamlin a speedy recovery, and we’ll keep him in our prayers.