The football world quickly saw on Monday that some things are bigger than sports.
In the first quarter of the Buffalo Bills’ Monday Night Football game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow completed a pass to receiver Tee Higgins for 13 yards. He cut up the middle of the field and collided with Buffalo safety Damar Hamlin, who made the tackle.
Hamlin, 24, stood up like normal, then in a scary scene, suddenly collapsed. That was the final play of the game as within minutes an ambulance was on the field and paramedics were administering CPR and resuscitating the young safety. He was rushed to the ICU of the University of Cincinnati Medical Center before it was announced that he had suffered a cardiac arrest on the field and was not breathing on his own.
As of Tuesday afternoon, Hamlin remains in critical condition.
An outpouring of love and support immediately came out from every corner of the social media sphere. NFL players, coaches and reporters posted their thoughts and prayers for Hamlin as he recovered. Over $4 million was raised for the former Pitt Panther’s charity, the Chasing M Foundation, which buys toys for children in his hometown of McKees Rocks, Pa.
The tragedy even helped bridge the gap between one of two of college football’s most bitter rivals. While Pitt fans awaited updates on Hamlin’s condition on Monday night, West Virginia football sent a message of love and support to their rivals.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the Pitt football family,” the Mountaineers tweeted.
Hamlin was a four-star recruit out of Central Catholic in Pittsburgh. He was recruited by the Mountaineers, along with a host of other programs, as a 2016 signee. The defensive back ultimately picked the Panthers and went on to have an All-ACC career at Pitt.
The Bills selected Hamlin in the sixth round of the 2021 NFL Draft, and he has been a key piece to the Buffalo defense throughout the 2022 campaign in his second year.