Monday night's NFL game between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Buffalo Bills was abandoned after Bills safety Damar Hamlin suffered a frightening injury in the first quarter of the game.
The score was 7-3 to the Bengals when Hamlin tackled wide receiver Tee Higgins of the Bengals. The 24-year-old Buffalo Bills safety stood up and then collapsed on his back.
Hamlin received immediate care from doctors and paramedics on the field before eventually being placed in an ambulance. His teammates formed a human wall around him while he was receiving care. Local reporters said a defibrillator was used on the field.
The scenes were eerily reminiscent of when Christian Eriksen collapsed while playing for Denmark in Euro 2020.
— Buffalo Bills (@BuffaloBills) January 3, 2023
Damar Hamlin injury: Game initially suspended for five minutes
However unlike that Denmark game, the match did not proceed. This appears to be despite the initial wishes of the NFL. After Hamlin left the field in an ambulance, players were told by officials they would have five minutes to warm up before the game resumed. However the head coaches of the two teams (Sean McDermott and Zach Taylor) intervened and sent their teams to the dressing rooms. Common sense eventually prevailed and the NFL's head office had the game postponed roughly an hour and ten minutes after the injury occurred.
Both coaches were praised for taking action when it appeared that the NFL wanted the game to go ahead.
i genuinely cannot fathom that the NFL thought resuming play 5 minutes after seeing player’s responding like this to Damar Hamlin collapsing was the right thing to do 😔 sending prayers to damar and his family 🙏🏼 pic.twitter.com/P4YgNA11xG
— Chloe Taylor (@chlocarbdashian) January 3, 2023
Per Joe Buck, once officials gave each team 5 minutes to warm up before resuming play, Bengals head coach Zac Taylor walked across the field and consulted Bills HC Sean McDermott. Both coaches then sent their teams to their respective locker rooms. Such a classy move by Taylor.
— Paxton Boyd (@paxton) January 3, 2023
Tonight’s game ended because Sean McDermott and Zac Taylor walked their teams off the field.
Then, after an hour and 10 minutes, the NFL made an announcement. Not a decision.
— Andrew Callahan (@_AndrewCallahan) January 3, 2023
Whenever the league talks about player safety we should all remember that the NFL tried to make the players warm up for five minutes and restart this game before the coaches stepped in
— PFT Commenter (@PFTCommenter) January 3, 2023
Game was supposed to resume after a 5 min warmup.
Shoutout to Sean McDermott and Zac Taylor for saying F*ck. That.
— Jonah Javad (@JonahJavad) January 3, 2023
McDermott and Taylor exchange handshakes after receiving the phone call.
Team staff has begun to pack up equipment.
This game will not be played tonight.
All anyone cares about right now is Bills S Damar Hamlin. 🙏🙏🙏 pic.twitter.com/jkS3AbNE5F
— Data-Driven Football (@DDFDiscord) January 3, 2023
The NFL's head offices released a statement saying Hamlin was in critical condition in a Cincinnati hospital.
Tonight’s Buffalo Bills-Cincinnati Bengals game has been postponed after Buffalo Bills’ Damar Hamlin collapsed, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced.
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 the Buffalo Bills. We will provide more information as it becomes available.
The NFL has been in constant communication with the NFL Players Association which is in agreement with postponing the game.
Hamlin's representatives confirmed that his 'vitals were back to normal' and he was undergoing tests.
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
The Buffalo Bills confirmed that Hamlin's heartbeat had been restored on the field of play.
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 game was a possible preview of the AFC Championship game and featured two of the most exciting teams in the NFL.
The safety of the sport of American football has been under great scrutiny over the past 10 years or so. While serious injuries - especially head injuries - occur all too commonly in the NFL, it's virtually unprecedented for a game to be postponed due to an injury. Such was the severity of the injury and the upset it caused amongst Hamlin's teammates.
Our prayers are with Damar Hamlin and his family.