NFL: The case of Damar Hamlin, of the Bills: a reminder of the dangers of football


For longtime CFL offensive lineman Derek Dennis, Damar Hamlin’s horrific injury is another grim reminder of the potential dangers of professional football.

Hamlin, a defensive back for the Bills, remains in critical condition in a Cincinnati hospital after suffering cardiac arrest on the field Monday night in the first quarter of a game against the Bengals.

« As football players, we are aware of the risks every time we step on the field, » said Dennis, a six-foot-two, 337-pound tackle who spent last season with the Stampeders.

“We are so conditioned to have this warrior mindset that sometimes you forget that you are playing a violent sport, which is supposed to be played with a certain passion, a certain violence. »

« (With) the terms coaches teach you even at a young age – a warrior, a savage, a beast, you become so conditioned that you forget it could be life threatening. »

The 24-year-old Hamlin got to his feet straight after tackling Tee Higgins of the Bengals, before collapsing on the field.

Players from both clubs surrounded Hamlin as he received CPR on the pitch, possibly lasting nine minutes.

It was reported that Hamlin required an automated external defibrillator (AED). About 19 minutes after his collapse, Hamlin was transported by ambulance to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center.

The game, which Cincinnati led 7-3, has been postponed to a date to be determined. The NFL announced on Tuesday that it would not be this week.

Dennis, 34, is well aware of the risk of injury in football. He played 14 regular season games with Calgary before suffering a cracked fibula that required surgery.

“My brother-in-law (guard Jamil Douglas) played with Buffalo and he had a locker next to Hamlin. So they were buddies, Dennis said. Raw human emotion, I think that puts football in perspective. »

“People sometimes forget that these guys are risking their lives, their limbs and their motor skills to provide entertainment for fans. »

On October 24, 1971, Chuck Hughes, a 28-year-old Detroit Lions wide receiver, collapsed in the field due to heart failure in the fourth quarter against the Chicago Bears at Tiger Stadium. He was taken to hospital where he was pronounced dead.

During the 1975 CFL season, Tom Pate, a rookie linebacker for the Tiger-Cats, died three days after being seriously injured in a game against Calgary. The 23-year-old athlete never regained consciousness.

Danish footballer Christian Eriksen suffered a cardiac arrest on the pitch during a Euro 2020 game against Finland. Eriksen’s heart stopped beating and team doctor Morten Boesen said the player was ‘gone’.

Eriksen not only survived, he returned to soccer last February.

In February 2020, Blues defenseman Jay Bouwmeester collapsed from cardiac arrest during an NHL game. He had to be resuscitated by a defibrillator before being transported to the hospital, where he had an internal defibrillator implanted three days later, to regulate his heart rhythm.

Bouwmeester announced his retirement 11 months later.

On June 26, 2003, Cameroon midfielder Marc-Vivien Foé collapsed while jogging in a Confederations Cup semi-final against Colombia.

Medical staff spent 45 minutes trying to restart his heart, but the player was pronounced dead at Stade de Gerland, Lyon.

After Foé’s death, FIFA adopted new training for medical teams posted along the pitch, regarding CPR and defibrillators.

The adopted protocols were then applied to help Eriksen.

During the 1998 NHL playoffs, St. Louis defenseman Chris Pronger collapsed on the ice after being shot in the chest by Detroit’s Dmitri Mironov.

Luckily for Pronger, he was able to return to acting and pursue a career that took him to the Hall of Fame.

“Pray that Damar Hamlin can have the same result that I was lucky to have with my incident, wrote Pronger on Twitter, Tuesday morning. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Damar, his family, his teammates and the greater NFL community, in connection with this very scary situation. »

According to the NFL, there are on average 30 health care providers in a stadium on game day. Additionally, the league uses unaffiliated medical personnel to help identify and examine injuries, including concussions.

CFL teams are required to have DEA devices at their facilities for use at all practices and games

They must also have dedicated emergency personnel on the ground and trained to use these devices.

During matches, the home team must ensure that an ambulance, paramedics and other emergency medical services are available at the stadium throughout the competition.

In addition, a paramedic unit with advanced life support is also required.

The NFL has medical tents on the sidelines. In the CFL, an observer at a command center has access to a camera allowing him to see all the players on the field. The Observer has the authority to remove a player from a game for safety concerns.

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