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NFL: JAN 02 Bills at Bengals

Source: Icon Sportswire / Getty

A player for the Buffalo Bills is in critical condition after experiencing cardiac arrest and collapsing during a game, leading to it being postponed by the NFL.

On Monday night (Jan. 2), Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin was taken off the field by ambulance after collapsing following a play on Cincinnati Bengals receiver Tee Higgins in the first quarter during their Football contest on ESPN. Hamlin was unresponsive, reportedly requiring CPR from medical personnel for up to nine minutes before his heartbeat was restored. Hamlin reportedly was transported on oxygen. The Bills released a statement late Monday night, confirming that Hamlin suffered cardiac arrest.

The 24-year-old is currently listed as being in critical condition. His mother, who was in the stands, was rushed down to escort her son in the ambulance to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, the closest Level 1 trauma center to Paycor Stadium. 

The unfolding situation shocked many who were watching the highly anticipated game, with players from both teams visibly shaken and crying. Both teams left the field for the locker room at the direction of Bills coach Sean McDermott and Bengals coach Zac Taylor, leading to a temporary suspension of the game.

Both coaches would be seen conferring outside the locker rooms with officials afterward. That led to many on-air at ESPN covering the game and many on social media demanding that the NFL postpone it, with the #CalltheGame hashtag dominating the trending list on Twitter. Current and former NFL players added their voices to the demand, as well as other figures from other sports.

ESPN’s Monday Night Football team of analysts, led by Joe Buck and Troy Aikman in the booth, conveyed the somber tone after the incident. In its formal statement on social media, the NFL officially postponed the game, saying it was in “constant communication with the NFL Players Association.” There has been no word from the league about when the game will be resumed.  

In the wake of Damar Hamlin’s medical emergency, many have boosted his GoFundMe campaign which was organized to purchase toys to “positively impact children who have been hardest hit by the pandemic.” The crowdfunding campaign has blown past its initial goal of $2,500 to over $3 million as of Tuesday morning (Jan. 3). GoFundMe verified the campaign to boost its visibility after the incident on Monday night.