The NFL came to a halt on Monday night. Early in the Monday Night Football game between the Buffalo Bills and the CIncinnati Bengals, Buffalo safety Damar Hamlin made a routine-looking tackle of Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins. After the collision, Hamlin came to his feet, but then suddenly collapsed.
Hamlin was transported to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, where he remains in critical condition. According to the Bills, Hamlin suffered cardiac arrest, and his heartbeat was restored on the field. He was sedated, and is undergoing further evaluation and treatment at UCMC.
Almost immediately, reaction poured in from around the NFL, and the greater sports community. Fans found a GoFundMe for a toy drive that Hamlin started when he entered the NFL, and as of this morning over $3 million has been donated in support of Hamlin.
Hamlin’s teammates were among those reacting on social media.
Please pray for our brother.— Josh Allen (@JoshAllenQB) January 3, 2023
Prayer is real, and it’s powerful. Constantly praying for Damar and his family— Dawson Knox (@dawson_knox) January 3, 2023
Pray as much as you can for our brother Damar and his family.— Spencer Brown (@TooTallo_o) January 3, 2023
Demar Hamlin is a kind caring extremely hard worker. He is loyal honest and can always put a smile on your face. He is more than an athlete, he is a son and brother. I pray God gives him mercy and brings him back to us.— Rodger Saffold (@Rodger_Saffold) January 3, 2023
Bengals players also joined in sending messages of prayer and support for Hamlin.
Love you 3 prayers ❤️ stay strong got your back always— Tyler Boyd (@boutdat_23) January 3, 2023
I wanna send a prayer to Damar and his family .— Ja’MarrChase (@Real10jayy__) January 3, 2023
Among those was Higgins, and fans found his charity of choice and began to make donations as well, supporting the Cincinnati receiver.
My prayers and thoughts go out to @HamlinIsland the Hamlin Family. I’m praying that you pull through bro. Love— Tee Higgins⁵ (@teehiggins5) January 3, 2023
The outpouring of support extended beyond the Bengals and the Bills. Other NFL teams, as well as their players, shared their concerns and prayers for Hamlin.
Come on 3— Miles Sanders (@BoobieMilesXXIV) January 3, 2023
our thoughts + prayers are with Damar Hamlin, the Bills and Bills Mafia https://t.co/tINN1fPwu5— Los Angeles Chargers (@chargers) January 3, 2023
Praying hard for Hamlin right now.. please let him be okay— Christian Kirk (@ckirk) January 3, 2023
Praying hard for D Hamlin— Myles Garrett (@Flash_Garrett) January 3, 2023
Sending Prayers Out To Damar Hamlin— MaddMaxx (@CrosbyMaxx) January 3, 2023
Unbelievably sad…. Heart is extremely heavy right now. Prayers for @HamlinIsland his health and the Hamlin Family now. Life is too important. Cherish every moment.— Baker Mayfield (@bakermayfield) January 3, 2023
"The safety of players in all sports is always the most important." LeBron James on Damar Hamlin. pic.twitter.com/JUIBIUCHRF— Spectrum SportsNet (@SpectrumSN) January 3, 2023
Donovan Mitchell took time to show support for Bills DB Damar Hamlin after scoring a Cavs-record 71 points ❤️ pic.twitter.com/BNXzMkDhlc— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) January 3, 2023
A notable reaction came from former NHL player Chris Pronger. During a playoff game in 1998 against the Detroit Red Wings, the St. Louis Blues defenseman was hit in the chest with a shot, and after a few seconds he collapsed to the ice. He received immediate medical attention from the training staff from both teams, and was transported to nearby Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, where he spent the night.
Pronger returned to the ice four days later, and is hoping for a similar outcome for Hamlin.