Bills’ safety goes into cardiac arrest during game 

In a much sadder story this week, an NFL player suffered a scary injury during the Monday Night Football game between the Buffalo Bills and Cincinnati Bengals. Bills’ safety Damar Hamlin, just 24 years old, reportedly went into cardiac arrest after suffering a blow to the chest while attempting to tackle Bengals’ wide receiver Tee Higgins during the first quarter of the game. The game was suspended, and then cancelled later in the same week.

In an interview on the subject, Dr. Chad Stevenson, a sports medicine specialist, explained that a direct blow to the region of the chest where the heart is located can result in such an event, although it is rare. According to Dr. Stevenson, a blow of sufficient force at the proper location can shock the heart into an improper rhythm, scientifically referred to as ventricular fibrilation, resulting in failure of the heart muscle (cardiac arrest). The proper term for a cardiac arrest induced this way is commotio cordis.  

Medical staff on hand at the game administered a defibrillator to Hamlin in order to reestablish a proper heart rhythm. This was followed by several minutes of CPR on the field, as despite the successful attempt to restart Hamlin’s heart, he had stopped breathing as a result of the earlier disruption. He was then rushed to a nearby hospital in Cincinatti where he was placed on a ventilator. Hamlin was reportedly stable but in critical condition, per the Bills organization, a few hour after the game. Thankfully, in the days since, Hamlin has woken up, shown motor function, and finally been discharged from the hospital. 

In perhaps the feel-good moment of the season, Bills returner Nyheim Hines returned the opening kickoff 96 yards of their very next game, a week 18 clash against the New England Patriots. The Bills went on to win 35-23 and secure the second seed in the AFC, securing a great chance to win the Super Bowl in honor of their fallen teammate.