Buffalo defensive back Damar Hamlin was in critical condition early Tuesday after the Bills say he suffered a cardiac arrest on the field after making a tackle hours earlier, leading to the indefinite postponement of Buffalo’s pivotal Monday night showdown against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Listen to the latest episode of the Quick Start Podcast:
“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,” the Bills said in a statement. “He is currently sedated and listed in critical condition.”
Many fellow NFL players and teams and others in the sports world and beyond quickly offered their support and prayers on social media for the Buffalo Bills safety. ESPN reported Hamlin was administered CPR on the field before being taken away in an ambulance.
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.
Hamlin was surrounded by stunned players from both teams, and when he was taken off the field 16 minutes later, the Bills gathered in prayer.
While medical personnel were gathered around Hamlin, his uniform was cut off and he appeared to be getting CPR. ESPN reported on its telecast that Hamlin was also given oxygen. He was strapped to a backboard and moved into the ambulance.
“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 the injury, and players walked off the field slowly.
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.
“This is about Damar Hamlin and His Health. I must say this though another aspect of why this game should be postponed is because of the type of focus it takes to play a professional football game is as intense as it gets and I truly don’t believe these men can get that back. IMO.” — Former NFL player and current ESPN analyst Marcus Spears on Twitter.