Hamlin’s drama moves America: football player is tackled and collapses on the field

Of Matteo Persivale

Damar Hamlin, 24, struggles between life and death after going into cardiac arrest following a stroke. The episode rekindles the debate on the damage caused by football to players’ health

Exactly three seconds after 8.55 pm Cincinnati, Ohio time (2.55 am on January 3 in Italy): Cincinnati Bengals-Buffalo Bills NFL Football Championship Day Game.

Damar Hamlin, #3 white jersey, Buffalo Bills safety, 24 years old, 5’3″ by 200lbsfor two years in the NFL, tackles the opponent who is diagonally crossing the field, Tee Higgins, black shirt number 85, wide receiver for the Cincinnati Bengals, 23 years old, 1.93 cm, 99 kg, for three years in the NFL . A textbook tackle. Both players down. The action stops. Hamlin gets up and two seconds later collapses, unconsciousone step away from the referee.

Emergency services arrive immediately. is revived for five minutes — immediately clear that his heart has stopped – while his companions surround him kneeling in prayer, in the unreal silence of the stadium. An ambulance enters the field and takes the boy to the hospital. He was immediately admitted to intensive care, where he remained overnight, intubated and in critical condition.

The Bills’ aseptic press release will remain in the annals of sport mostly for what it doesn’t say: Damar Hamlin suffered cardiac arrest following a stroke in the Buffalo Bills’ game against the Cincinnati Bengals. His heartbeat was restored in the field and he was transferred to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center for further testing and treatment.

The tackle is replayed obsessively by American TV, e the sports doctors consulted almost unanimously give the diagnosis of commotio cordis
what happens when a strong blow received in the thoracic region alters the normal electrical activity of the heartcausing ventricular fibrillation leading to cardiac arrest which, in the absence of rapid resuscitation, is lethal in most cases.

Hamlin belongs to the minority of patients who – immediately undergoing cardiopulmonary resuscitation – manage to arrive in intensive care. But the prognosis remains guarded. The doctors explained that the accident was due to a very unlikely circumstance: literally a fraction of a second difference in the cardiac cycle window is enough to avoid the commotio cordisbut in this case Hamlin was shot in exactly the millisecond that his heart was vulnerable. A few thousandths more or less, a few millimeters of difference at the point of impact, and nothing would have happened.

The match was suspended and postponed sine dieand the only controversies in the immediately following hours arose from the American no vaxes who online – often with tens or hundreds of thousands of followers – blamed the vaccines, glossing over the tremendous blow to the sternum that Hamlin had received exactly two seconds before ‘slumping, but still harvesting interactions.

a fact, confirmed by statistics provided by the NFL itself, that in the last forty years football players have become much heavier: a recent phenomenon that of the jumbo lineman, the defensive player weighing more than a quintal (the record set a few years ago by the now 41-year-old Bryant McKinnie of the Baltimore Ravens who weighed 160 kg). The NFL itself on its website tells the story of the athletic evolution of the players through a century of sport, from everyman to superman, from man on the street to superman, ignoring the obvious problem of frequent concussions and chronic traumatic encephalopathy that afflicts many former playerswho already at sixty appear much older, often affected by the trembling walk known in the environment with gloomy humor as a lobster step.

In 17 weeks of the championship, the NFL has so far recorded 135 concussions among playerswith an average recovery time of 9 days (there is no rule requiring a minimum stop, the show must go on).

January 3, 2023 (change January 3, 2023 | 22:01)

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Hamlin’s drama moves America: football player is tackled and collapses on the field

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