A Horrific Reminder

That the game of football is violent is plain to see. Still and all, it is a game. No matter the rhetoric around ‘going to battle’, ‘fighting to the finish’, or even ‘sudden death overtime’, the game of football is still that. A game. It isn’t supposed to be life and death out there. Unfortunately, we all saw how fragile someone can become on the field of play. Damar Hamlin, in trying to tackle Bengals WR Tee Higgins, took what looked like a fairly run-of-the mill shot to the chest. He immediately popped up, but suddenly collapsed. His heart stopped and he had to be resuscitated twice on the field before being stabilized and taken to the hospital. Players on both sides prayed, cried, and were dumbfounded and horrified at the situation unfolding in front of them and an international TV audience. The latest news is that Hamlin is ‘showing signs of improvement’ today as he is still listed in critical condition and remains in ICU on a ventilator.

Violence and football of course go hand-in-hand as the game played at the turn of 19th century was nearly cancelled by the government for all the fatalities and maimings going on in college football. It was all ground and pound as most plays were runs up the middle with 22 guys swarming each other and getting their heads smashed in or bodies twisted into paralysis. Football in the early 1900s saw 10-20 deaths with hundreds of debilitating injuries a season. But Teddy Roosevelt saved the game. He brought about rules changes to allow forward passes and illegalize the scrum-like formations that got so many players hurt. These changes lowered injuries and deaths in a big way and the modern game got its start.

Nowadays, the effects are more cumulative what with all the ‘safety’ equipment now worn by the players. Now it is CTE, early-onset dementia, the occasional paralysis, and a myriad of issues the league strives to ignore. Hamlin’s case appears to be a fluke type thing where he was hit at the exact wrong time in the exact wrong place to induce a heart attack. This doesn’t make the injury any less horrible, but it also serves to remind people that this game is inherently violent, and it is pretty hard to figure what to do other than play on. It is kinda difficult to think about this upcoming game, but this injury, like so many others, will fade. The hope is that Hamlin fully recovers and is able to live a normal life.

Not sure how or when they will make up the Bengals/Bills game as it has huge ramifications for the #1 seeding in the AFC, but I’d think they’ll add a week to the schedule after week 18 as Buffalo and Cincy will play their regularly scheduled games this weekend. I’d think they’ll add a week 19 to allow Buffalo and Cincinnati to complete their game, while the rest of the league gets a bye week heading into the playoffs.


About unca_chuck

Lifelong SF 49ers, SF Giants, and Golden State Warriors fan
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21 Responses to A Horrific Reminder

  1. Winder says:

    I truly feel for Damar and hope he gets better. This game has caused quite a few catastrophic injuries but they are far and few between. It is a competitive sport that all the players know about the risks. At this level the players get compensated imo very well. Like chuck said safety is a top concern and it shows with the modern gear the players wear and the rule changes that continue to surface. There is no way to make sure no one tears an acl or breaks his leg for that matter. The game is popular because it is a violent contact sport. And it can only be changed so much or it’s not gonna be football anymore.

  2. unca_chuck says:

    Not sure if this apropos, but any chance to play a little Jerry on pedal steel is OK by me. The similarity to Teach your Children is pretty apparent.

    • unca_chuck says:

      Man, great version of that song. I know about 50 people who were there. Scrambled egggs at down served by Bill Graham. I don’t know why I didn’t go . . .

      I did see the Tubes at Winterland 3 days earlier.

  3. unca_chuck says:

    Jim Harbaugh says ‘I think I’ll be coaching at Michigan’ next year as he talks with the Carolina Panthers about their HC gig. A ringing mybe.

    Jim’s gonna milk it for the deal he didnt get from Jed. Not sure how the folks in Ann Arbor feel about Harbs, but he hasn’t delivered on the big one yet. Or much of anything bowl-game-wise

    1-6 in his bowl games in 8 years as the HC. Ouch.

  4. bakkentom says:


    Lots of high aerobic athletes gotten the same damage to their heart as the first nfl victim.

    • willedav says:

      Um no, this is puro faux news. The vaccine has absolutely nothing to do with it. he suffered a football injury in a violent collision where he was hit in the chest during the game. Lot of this anti vax nonsense out there from lunatic fringe.

  5. Locojuan says:

    Hoping all y’all on the West coast are staying safe during the major water and wind events that’re hitting ya.

  6. unca_chuck says:

    Damar Hamlin has make ‘remarkable progress’ in the last 24 hours according to doctors and Hamlin’s father. Good news.


    Crazy all night. High winds and hard rain. We are on a hill and have a hill behind out patio. Just got to keep the drains clear. We have 2 6″ drain pipes that get the water coming off the hill.

  7. Irish Kevin says:

    Wish I had kept the article, but a doctor said this is highly unusual. The ball had to hit just perfectly for the heart attack to happen, he said you see this more in teenage boys due to under developed rib cages. He also said it is very common in baseball catchers. It is an awful thing to have happen at such an early age. I had a good friend who died from a heart attack at the age of 38. IMO the NFL needs to play the Bills game and just move on.

  8. unca_chuck says:

    Well, it’ll have to be after week 18.

  9. Berger says:

    The same thing happened to Chris Pronger in the 90s. A puck hit him in the chest and he went into cardiac arrest. They gave him CPR on the ice. He was unconscious. I don’t remember how long the recovery was but he played for years afterward.

  10. unca_chuck says:

    New thread is up.

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