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16-minute struggle for survival on the pitch - Hamlin's condition 'critical'

The game was still in the early stages when Damar Hamlin wanted to set an example.

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16-minute struggle for survival on the pitch - Hamlin's condition 'critical'

The game was still in the early stages when Damar Hamlin wanted to set an example. When Cincinnati Bengals receiver Tee Higgins ran toward him in the first quarter, the Buffalo Bills safety confronted him. A tackle that happens dozens of times in a football game. It's part of Hamlin's job as safety. But this time everything was different.

Higgins' right shoulder caught Hamlin square in the chest. The 24-year-old Bills pro went down, quickly got to his feet and then collapsed in front of the other players.

It quickly became clear that Hamlin would have to fight for his life from now on. The Bills' physical trainers ran onto the field and began CPR that lasted several minutes. You could also see how the collapsed Hamlin was being supplied with additional oxygen. An ambulance drove onto the lawn.

While the medics fought for Hamlin's life, his teammates knelt around him in shock; some wept, others prayed. Hamlin's family was escorted from the stands to the pitch. After an endless 16 minutes of on-court treatment, it was decided that Hamlin would be taken to the University of Cincinnati Hospital in an ambulance.

The game between hosts Cincinnati and the guests from Buffalo in the National Football League (NFL) was then abandoned, which was no more than a side note that evening. Instead, players, officials and fans awaited an update on Hamlin's health. The NFL issued an initial press release shortly after the cancellation, describing the Bills player's condition as "critical."

NFL Network reporter Ian Rapoport shared a post from a close friend of Hamlin's on Twitter shortly afterwards. Accordingly, the condition of the professional has stabilized. However, the doctors are said to have put Hamlin in an artificial coma in order to be able to intubate him. In the coming hours, Hamlin will be examined in detail.

dr Anthony Cardillo, an emergency medical technician, classified the incident on ABC. Hamlin's collapse was "very likely" related to the blow to the chest, Cardillo said. “There are other situations in which players collapse while running because they have an arrhythmia caused by an enlarged heart muscle. This case is different, ”explained the doctor. “The impact was in the area of ​​the upper chest. In the event of a cardinal injury to the aorta, the player would very likely have been dead."

Cardillo therefore suspected an R-on-T phenomenon in Hamlin. “In principle, the heart beats between its beats. If you get a traumatic impact in the chest at a very specific moment, namely when the heart is depolarizing, i.e. a certain part of the heart muscle is not yet excitable, it becomes dangerous. The consequences are life-threatening cardiac arrhythmias such as ventricular fibrillation caused by the hard hit. As you could see in the pictures, the paramedics quickly cleared his airway and then used a defibrillator to get his heart back into the right rhythm," the emergency doctor diagnosed.

The NFL's hesitant behavior in the minutes after the incident caused discussions among fans and experts. After Hamlin was transported off the field by an ambulance, Bills players gathered and knelt on the ground in a circle. The Bills head coach Sean McDermott, opposite number Zac Taylor and the referees spoke afterwards and it was decided to stop the game for the time being.

Around 90 minutes after the start of the game, the league announced that the game would be abandoned. When and in what form it should be continued was not initially clear. You are in constant contact with the NFL Players Association. The NFL is about to play its last game of the regular season, the playoffs begin in mid-January, and the schedule is tight.

Football pundit Rapoport reported that NFL manager Troy Vincent denied allegations during a phone conversation: "None of the coaches have spoken about resuming the game, neither have the players. It was really about Damar. How do you get back into the game after seeing such a traumatic event?" Rapoport quoted the conversation as saying on Twitter. Vincent sharply denied a message that the players had been instructed to warm up again: "I'm not sure where that came from. It's insensitive." The focus was on making sure the players were okay.

Eyewitnesses from the Bengals stadium reported touching scenes during the long break in treatment. So fans of both teams remained almost completely silent in their seats, hugged and prayed. A sad silence also prevailed when leaving the stadium, said a Bills fan after the game.

While some of Hamlin's teammates traveled back to Buffalo after the game, other Bills players stayed in Cincinnati. Among them was Stefon Diggs, who had already spoken to his shocked teammates on the field. The receiver also drove to the hospital where Hamlin is currently being treated. The sports channel ESPN showed pictures of how Diggs was first stopped by a police officer in front of the University of Cincinnati hospital, but was then allowed to enter.

The Bengals also expressed their condolences in Hamlin's fate. As a sign of solidarity, they illuminated their stadium in the dark blue of the Bills. Tee Higgins, who tragically struck Hamlin in the chest, said: "My prayers and thoughts go out to Damar Hamlin and the Hamlin family. I pray you come through bro,” the Bengals pro wrote on Twitter. Higgins ended his post with one word: love.

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