Even if you’re not a football fan I’m sure you’ve heard about the frightening moment from last night’s game between the Bills and Bengals. After a tackle, Bills safety Damar Hamlin collapsed on the field and had to be given CPR for close to ten minutes. He had gone into cardiac arrest. It’s one of the scariest things I’ve ever seen in sports. I’m old enough that I remember when All-American Hank Gathers collapsed in a college basketball game and died due to a heart condition he had. These rare incidents are terrifying to witness.
There are some things we can take away from the horrific incident last night. And of course just as everyone else is doing I am hoping and praying we hear good news regarding Hamlin. I keep constantly refreshing my social media feeds to see if anything has changed.
Here are a few things to take away from last night.
1. Life is fragile and precious. Nothing is given and we must go out and enjoy and make the most of each day. What happened last night was so frightening because the collapse happened after what appeared to be a routine tackle that I’m sure Hamlin has done hundreds of times throughout his career. Things can change in an instant so always appreciate the gift of life each day.
2. There is way more to life than a game. This was so bigger than sports. A man is fighting for his life. I can’t imagine the trauma players on both teams are dealing with after witnessing something so frightening. The fact that this game had major playoff implications didn’t matter. All that mattered and should matter is this man’s life. We are more than our job. We are a son/daughter, husband/wife, mother/father, friend. These roles matter way more than anything we do in our daily jobs and to cancel that game was absolutely the right thing to do.
3. A huge thank you is owed to the medical staff on site at the games. Athletic trainers, EMTs and doctors are trained to handle not just routine emergencies but life threatening situations they can encounter. Their training, expertise and quick actions helped to hopefully save this man’s life or at least gave him a chance.
4. Take the time to learn CPR. Hopefully you are never in a situation where you need to use it but get to learn the basics of this life saving action. The compressions are important to circulate whatever oxygen is left. Mouth to mouth isn’t necessary if you don’t feel comfortable or aren’t trained.
And don’t be afraid of an AED. If one is accessible and available use it. The device literally talks you through what you need to do. And it can save lives.
5. Keep things in perspective. This is similar to what I already talked about but at the end of the day sports are just a game. Our jobs don’t define us or matter more than our lives. What matters is that you’re here and get the chance to do whatever it is you love day after day.
6. Support one another during difficult times. It was powerful to see the teams and coaches come together and pray and hug and console each other during the terrifying on field incident. Just like teammates have each others’ backs, we need to be there for our friends and family whenever they are going through a difficult time.
I hope and pray we get encouraging news regarding Hamlin’s condition. It’s been hard not to think about this story all day.
#prayersup #damarhamlin #morethanagame #keepitinperspective