For the already playoff-bound Cincinnati Bengals, tonight was a significant game that could see the franchise clinch the AFC North with a win over the Buffalo Bills. On the other side of the ball, the Bills are already AFC East champions, but there’s still some regular season left. Every game matters, but so does the health of the players who put their bodies on the line for one of the most physical and brutal games in professional sports. We were all reminded of that Monday night when Bills’ safety Damar Hamlin collapsed in the first quarter after tackling Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins.
He wasn’t out of breath—this was a serious medical emergency. Medical staff rushed onto the field, where CPR was rendered for 10 minutes before an ambulance took Hamlin to a nearby hospital. The game has been suspended, with many observers, including sports commentators, urging the NFL to call the game [UPDATE: the game has officially been suspended indefinitely] (via ESPN):
Powerful words by Ryan Clark pic.twitter.com/pLfPVkw2Tv— JPA (@jasrifootball) January 3, 2023
Bills safety Damar Hamlin was taken off the field in an ambulance after receiving treatment for over 10 minutes, which resulted in the game between Buffalo and the Cincinnati Bengals being suspended until further notice Monday night.
CPR was administered to Hamlin on the field for multiple minutes after he collapsed on the field following a play in the first quarter. He appeared to be receiving oxygen as he was placed in the ambulance and taken off the field some 16 minutes after he collapsed.
The first attempt to move Hamlin resulted in him being brought back down onto the field, but he was ultimately placed into an ambulance, which left the stadium at about 9:25 p.m. ET. Hamlin's family came down from the stands to be with him in the ambulance.
However, instead of resuming play, Bengals coach Zac Taylor walked over to Bills counterpart Sean McDermott and met with game officials present. The decision was then made to pause the game -- which the Bengals were leading 7-3 -- some 21 minutes after the injury.
With Hamlin’s health status in doubt, the entire NFL is rallying around the young player hoping for the best and sending prayers to his family. Hamlin is listed as being in critical condition:
Sending our thoughts and prayers to Damar🙏— Cincinnati Bengals (@Bengals) January 3, 2023
The game is not important.— JJ Watt (@JJWatt) January 3, 2023
Damar Hamlin’s life is important.
Please be ok. Please.
Praying for Damar Hamlin and the entire Buffalo Bills organization 💙 https://t.co/BPwZFj7Tqx— New York Giants (@Giants) January 3, 2023
Father God, I pray that Damar Hamlin is okay and here with us. I also ask that he have a speedy recovery mentally & physically God; in Jesus name… Amen🙏🏾— SAUCE (@iamSauceGardner) January 3, 2023
Sending our prayers to Damar Hamlin and his family 🙏🖤— Las Vegas Raiders (@Raiders) January 3, 2023
The Bills and Bengals have both left the field and the game has temporarily been suspended. pic.twitter.com/pb4QZPgHtn— ESPN (@espn) January 3, 2023
Sending our prayers to Damar Hamlin and the @BuffaloBills 🙏💛— Washington Commanders (@Commanders) January 3, 2023
A number of Bengals players in street clothes starting to file out of the locker room and head to their cars.— Paul Dehner Jr. (@pauldehnerjr) January 3, 2023
The game has been postponed.— Cincinnati Bengals (@Bengals) January 3, 2023
We will provide further information as details become available.
“The longer his health and his well-being and let’s face it his life is in question the further away from football we’re getting.”— Lauren Michelson (@LaurenMichelson) January 3, 2023
Perfectly said by Booger McFarland. Prayers for Damar Hamlin.