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Photo Courtesy of Brother Rice Highschool
Hamlin Injury Shocks the World
February 1, 2023
When Bills and Bengals fans sat down to watch the football game on Jan. 2, what they did not expect to see was an injury that would shock the world.
The Bills were playing the Bengals in Cincinnati and in the first quarter of the game, Bills’ safety Damar Hamlin went to tackle the wide receiver for the Bengals, Tee Higgins. What seemed like a routine tackle resulted in anything but that, as Hamlin got up, then immediately collapsed in cardiac arrest. First responders quickly rushed onto the field and Hamlin was given CPR while both teams stood around him with tears in their eyes and shock on their faces. According to NBC Sports, an ambulance came onto the field and sat there for more than ten minutes while first responders tried to get Hamilin stable enough to be moved.
Once they got him in the ambulance, he was taken to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center where he was in the ICU in critical condition for a week. When Hamlin woke up on a ventilator, he was able to communicate with doctors through writing. He asked, “Who won the game?” The doctors responded, “You won the game, Damar, the game of life.” Hamlin spent almost a week in the hospital and is now recovering at home with his family.
This injury was an eye-opening one for many people, as near-fatal injuries on the field are not common. Some student athletes might wonder if such a thing could happen to them. “It was a really rare injury, but I think I need to be more careful because something like that can happen to me,” said FCHS freshman Colton Smith.
However, FCHS Athletic Trainer Tyler Golden said student athletes should not let this incident deter them from playing the sports they love. “I hope Fluvanna athletes know we have plans in place, just like the Bills’ and Bengals’ medical teams did, to handle medical emergencies like that. They should feel comfortable playing sports,” he said, adding, “I am confident that if something like that were to ever happen at FCHS, we would be prepared to quickly take action and respond to the situation.”
While the exact cause of Hamlin’s cardiac arrest is still up for debate, many cardologists think it was most likely a rare thing called commotio cordis, which is believed to only happen less than 30 times a year in the U.S. “It’s not about how hard of a hit it was. It’s actually about the timing of when the blow happens,” said Dr. Comilla Sasson, a spokesperson for the American Heart Association. According to CBS News, commotio cordis is a confusion of the heart where the heart pumps erratically. The hit from Higgins may have interfered with the electric signal in Hamlin’s heart, causing it to have a new beat called ventricular fibrillation, a fast, erratic heartbeat that doesn’t pump blood into the brain. When this happens, the heart has to be shocked back into its normal heartbeat.
The good news is that thanks to quick action from emergency medical personnel at the field, Halin is recovering well. Meanwhile, some football players at Fluvanna are not letting Hamlin’s injury turn them away from the game they love. “What happened to Damar was very unfortunate and upsetting, but it doesn’t make me concerned about putting the pads on again, because I love it,” said junior Richard Price.