Monday nights are made for football. Since 1970, American families have gathered to watch these men battle it out, and late in the season many of these games will help determine who will be making the playoffs, or what seed they will be in. The Buffalo Bills and Cincinnati Bengals are no exception to this, as both are vying for their position in the postseason.
Just over halfway through the first quarter, Hamlin tackled Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins in a routine play. During the play, Higgins led with his right shoulder into Hamlin’s chest as he was being tackled. Hamlin took him to the ground, rolled, and popped right back up. In less than 5 seconds, Hamlin collapsed on the field, and trainers rushed to his side.
Bringing out the backboard and protecting his head, players circled around him. This is a move not only in support of Hamlin but also helps guard him in his most vulnerable moment. They attempted to move Hamlin and were also forced to perform eight minutes of CPR before his heart would resume beating on its own. As both Bills and Bengals players kept their watch, many were filled with raw emotions and crying for him. After the ambulance made it to the field, they picked him up and waited for his mother to accompany him to the hospital.
No one left their seats. Fans from both sides remained in place. Many began praying. Suddenly, there were no longer two teams. There was only a sea of support for the young NFL player.
Shortly thereafter, both teams cleared the field as the NFL announced the game was being temporarily suspended. Small scenes and reports came in from various officials as players met privately and exchanged hugs, tears, and prayers for Hamlin. Coaches were seen talking with one another, as well as league officials via cell phone. After another 15 minutes or so, the league decided to postpone the game. Word on his condition would come later, and he was reported as being in critical condition, with information indicating that his heart was beating on its own, but that he was on a ventilator.
Over the night, coaches and players from both teams came to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center where Hamlin had been taken. Bills star receiver Stefon Diggs was one of the first players to show up, where cops tried to block his entrance. It took a reporter from ESPN to explain to the officer who he was, and why he needed to be allowed in. Meanwhile, fans and others have held a vigil and prayed for his recovery as well as for positive updates on his condition.