DAN BICKLEY

Bills S Damar Hamlin collapse is latest of NFL’s frightening moments

Jan 2, 2023, 8:40 PM | Updated: Jan 3, 2023, 8:16 am
Buffalo Bills offensive tackle Spencer Brown (79) pauses as Damar Hamlin is examined by medical sta...

Buffalo Bills offensive tackle Spencer Brown (79) pauses as Damar Hamlin is examined by medical staff during the first half of an NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Monday, Jan. 2, 2023, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Emilee Chinn)

(AP Photo/Emilee Chinn)

The NFL is a horrifying place. That became abundantly clear on Monday night, when paramedics frantically performed CPR on the Bills’ Damar Hamlin, who absorbed a vicious hit to the chest while attempting to make a tackle.

Hamlin stood up, and immediately collapsed. And so began one of the most nauseating, stunning, sobering viewing experiences in recent memory, the worst ending imaginable to a weekend full of breathtaking, high-stakes football.

Hamlin’s status was not clear as he left the field in an ambulance. But those who watched it all unfold will never forget the anguish on the Buffalo sideline, the looks on the faces of his teammates and brothers.

It was the nightmare the modern-day NFL has long dreaded, the fear of a player dying on the field, from the legalized violence the sport encourages and demands.

Hamlin was in critical condition approximately an hour after the incident, the NFL said in a statement.

It’s been a rough year. Concussion protocol is under fire, fueled by the surreal visuals of Tua Tagovailoa convulsing on the field, his fingers locking up in trauma response. Over the weekend, Giants defenseman Kayvon Thibodeaux made snow angels on the field, right next to a writhing Nick Foles, the player Thibodeaux had just injured.

The NFL doesn’t want this. It tries hard to protect its quarterbacks, and yet 64 of them have started games this season alone. It spends big money on research and development for safer working conditions and has practically legislated dangerous kickoff returns out of the game.

But as we’ve seen far too often this season, it cannot control the escalating violence inside a sport that keeps getting bigger, stronger and faster.

Reach Bickley at dbickley@arizonasports.com. Listen to Bickley & Marotta weekdays from 6 – 10 a.m. on Arizona Sports.

Dan Bickley

(Jeremy Schnell/Arizona Sports)...
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Bills S Damar Hamlin collapse is latest of NFL’s frightening moments