Football is America’s sport. Fans from all over get excited to watch these games weekly during football season. Games are exciting and thrilling, but – as we saw last night – they can also be extremely scary. As parents, my husband and I have had many conversations about the safest sports and which ones we will choose to let or not let our children play. As a mother, I cannot imagine watching my child endure something so damaging, especially on live television. Then, because of the live cameras that were present, prevalence of social media and news outlets reporting on the story, potentially being forced to watch the incident over and over and over again.
If you are not aware, Damar Hamlin, a relatively young safety who plays for the Buffalo Bills, suffered cardiac arrest after a fairly routine tackle during the live game against the Cincinnati Bengals. The Buffalo Bills issued the following statement at 1:48am on Damar Hamlin’s condition: “Damar Hamlin suffered a cardiac arrest following a hit in the Buffalo Bills’ game versus the Cincinnati Bengals. His heartbeat was restored on the field and he was transferred to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center for further testing and treatment. He is currently sedated and listed in critical condition.”
It is still unclear if this injury is 100% tied to the game or perhaps an underlying condition. Regardless, it is times like these where the sports world comes together whether you are a Saints fan, a Bills fan or a Bengals fan. While there is a debate about whether sports like football should be considered a “real” profession, you simply cannot argue that sports unite us. We host countless parties, we gather at someone’s home with a 70 inch TV, we eat, we drink, we have a little friendly competition, we make bets and so on. Sports are a dominant part of American culture and provide a diversion from real life. Sports give us something to talk about at cocktail parties or, ironically, when we are watching our kids play sports. Sports even constitute several minutes of the evening news.
The suspension of the high stakes game during the first quarter proves that the football leaders, coaches, players, spectators and community realize life is more important than the game. It is my understanding that this is the first time in the history of the game that an ‘in process’ game was suspended. It is unknown if it will be rescheduled; however, at this point, does anyone actually care?
Many people were unaware, until yesterday, that Damar started his own charity in 2020 called the Chasing M Foundation. In fact, I am guessing that many of us may not have even known Damar’s name until last night … and that is okay. Seeing someone who uses their platform and voice to give back is huge. Damar states on his Go Fund Me page that he will never forget where he came from and will always give back to the community. The only good thing that came out of last night’s injury is that the dollars donated to children in his community went from $2,900 to over $3 million overnight. When Damar wakes up, I can only imagine the gratitude he will feel when he learns of this outpouring of love and support. We cannot fix what happened, but we can show support in a tangible way. It won’t change what happened, but it will show him how very loved he and his community is. This is the power of community. This is the power of sports. If you want to be a part of this, the link to his charity Go Fund Me is pasted below.
With all of the negative in this world, it is nice to see everyone come together. However, I wish bad things did not need to happen for the world to come together as one and put all negativity aside. Why do people come out of the woodwork to pray and send positive thoughts? Why can’t this be something that happens all day everyday regardless of life’s circumstances? Why did it take the sad, sad, suicide of a loved celebrity last week for the world to finally discuss the importance of mental health? I can argue both sides. Life is busy. We all get wrapped up in our own issues, tasks, dilemmas. Some people do not watch TV, some people do not watch the news, some folks even stay off social media – which I am slightly jealous of. In spite of everything, let’s all come together to lift Damar, his doctors, his family, teammates and friends in prayer. Let’s all make a pact to stop sharing clips of the hit and collapse, and instead let’s share his name, his charity and reminders for everyone to pray. Pray for humanity. Pray for comfort. Pray for our collective community.