The Dangers of Football (feat.Damar Hamlin)


(AP Photo/Joshua A. Bicke

Damar Hamlin Collapses on the field as a result of Cardiac Arrest during a game against the Bengals.

Sarak Chhim, Reporter

  Football is a beloved sport that is enjoyed by many across the nation, but unfortunately comes with a high risk of serious injury. Whether they are professional players at the highest levels, or younger athletes still in their youth, the dangers of the sport remain the same. There is no area of the body that is immune to injury when it comes to playing football and the fate of Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin, who collapsed on the field on Monday, January 2, game against the Cincinnati Bengals, serves as a reminder of the potential consequences of playing football.


   During the first quarter, Damar Hamlin suffered cardiac arrest after tackling Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins. While he stood back up, he collapsed seconds later, and medical professionals rushed to him on the field. After conducting nearly 10 minutes of CPR, Hamlin’s “heartbeat was restored on the field and was rushed to the UC Medical Center where he was in critical condition. Football is an intense physical sport which can cause serious injuries for players if proper safety measures are neglected. As football is a sport which includes a significant amount of physical contact, it is important that proper safety precautions are taken in order to prevent similar injuries from occurring.


   Garrett Mossbarger and Jessika Wickert, the two athletic trainers here at Paschal shared their thoughts on what could be the actual cause of Damar Hamlin collapsing and stated, “Some of the information that is coming out that may have been the cause but is not confirmed is “Commotio Cordis”… Commotio Cordis is ventricular fibrillation precipitated by blunt trauma to the chest. It usually happens when an object hits the chest at just the right moment during the cardiac cycle. Although it is infrequent, it is most common in young athletes.” They add, “Some of the most life-threatening injuries in football are cardiac arrest issues… There have been ongoing modifications made to protocols to protect athletes in all sports… over the past decade. They continue, “Mr. Hamlin’s injury also shed light on the need of having medical professionals, such as Athletic Trainers, on sidelines for football games. Injuries, either life-threatening or not, can happen at any time during a football game or any other sport for that matter. Athletic Trainers are often the first to respond to traumatic events of a medical nature during sporting events. That is if a school or organization is lucky enough to have one present. As mentioned before there are protocols in place, called EAP (emergency action plans), that are covered with coaches and athletes in the event of an emergency.” They finish by saying, “Our main job here at the high school is to be present for every practice, game and event on campus in the event that someone should be injured. Subsequent tasks are also helping rehabilitate athletes post injury, referring athletes to the doctor with more testing and imaging done to find out the cause of an athlete’s pain as well as education for all athletes about good nutrition and hydration approaches for being an athlete… We always say it is a good day if we don’t have to work very hard because that means all of our athletes are safe and healthy.”


   As of January 9th, 2023, Damar Hamlin is showing progress in his recovery. Hamlin is now communicating and breathing without assistance and released an image of himself in the hospital with a jersey saying “PRAY FOR DEMAR”. Doctors revealed that Hamlin’s heart stopped twice in the aftermath of the hit. Hamlin was placed in the intensive care unit. Since then, Hamlin’s health has improved tremendously, Hamlin was transferred to a hospital in Buffalo, New York, to continue his recovery. Doctors decided to send Hamlin back to Buffalo after his condition improved from what they considered critical to good. Hamlin then walked his first lap, after his breathing tube was removed. Later, Damar Hamlin tweeted, “Grateful for the awesome care I received at UCMC. Happy to be back in Buffalo. The docs and nurses at Buffalo General have already made me feel at home!”


   Football is a dangerous and contact sport that can lead to serious injuries such as those suffered by Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin. Despite modern advancements in protective equipment and Athletic trainers on the sidelines to help, football still poses a risk for players who participate in the sports. Coaches and parents should be aware of the risks and encourage players to use safety advice to reduce the potential for serious injury. With careful guidance and smart strategies, football can remain a safe and enjoyable experience for everyone involved.