Damar Hamlin: An Injury That Stunned the Nation


“EKG” by Rosmarie Voegtli is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Within minutes of the first quarter of the Monday Night Football Bengals vs. Bills game in Cincinnati on January 2nd, Bills player Damar Hamlin made a tackle against Tee Higgins. Hamlin stood up after making the tackle and seconds later was seen falling to the ground, unconscious.

Hamlin reportedly went into cardiac arrest following the hit and was administered CPR that revived his heartbeat on the field. He was then taken to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center in critical condition.

This was no ordinary tackle. In fact, it was a phenomenon to the football and medical community that cardiologists named: commotio cordis

One’s heart pumps blood throughout the body nearly every second. This process is a calculated pattern that keeps the blood flow at a healthy pace. But during this process, there is a small gap – less than one second – in which a hard strike to the chest area would lead to a potentially fatal heart rhythm.

Medical professionals speculated that it was this exact moment that caused Damar Hamlin, an active 24 year-old male with a healthy heart, to go into sudden cardiac arrest. 

On Wednesday, Hamlin was out of the Buffalo hospital ready to catch up on the football he had missed. An update on Damar Hamlin states that he is now focused on recovery and getting back on the field to play football. 

The incident stunned millions of fans and shocked the nation. This injury only proves how important safety in the workplace is, especially football. About 40 percent of NFL injuries that have occurred have been strains and sprains. This is followed by 25 percent being extreme bruises, then 15 percent being dislocations. Although Hamlin was severely injured during the game, there is still a low percentage of how much a player may be condemned to injury per game – 4 percent.