CINCINNATI – There was a scary moment that happened on Monday Night Football that brought every NFL fan to tears. The injury was almost a tragedy. It was the quick, heroic, and fast reactions of doctors that saved a life. Bills Safety Damar Hamlin appeared minutes or even seconds away from death at the age of 24. Hamlin appeared to be hit in the chest by the helmet of receiver Tee Higgins. After that, Hamlin immediately fell down, appeared to lose consciousness, and stopped breathing. Doctors performed CPR for nearly ten minutes.
Paramedics took Hamlin to the University of Cincinnati hospital and the doctors there did everything they could to make sure Hamlin stayed alive. They put a tube in his nose which helped him breathe. Eventually, doctors took it out and Hamlin appeared to be on the long road to recovery.
It looks like Hamlin will make a full recovery. However, what happened on Monday Night was a reminder that these players do more than put their bodies on the line. They actually put their lives on the line. Even though such injuries rarely result in death or even close to death, this reminder caused us to rethink how we look at the game of football.
Will this eventually lead to the end of the NFL? It’s unlikely such an extreme will occur. The NFL is more diligent than ever in protecting the health and safety of the players.
It’s important to remember that one NFL player died on the field back in 1971. It is the only case of an injury resulting in death. However, it serves as a reminder that this can happen. It’s important to remember that whenever anyone questions how far the NFL goes in terms of initiating more rules for player safety. It’s not just the threat of lawsuits. The issue is a whole lot bigger than that. However, some fans who saw what happened to Chuck Hughes back in 1971 probably had flashbacks and immediately thought of that.
Players on both the Bengals and Bills showed immediate concern for Hamlin as they weren’t sure if he’d live or die. Seeing a teammate, opposing player, and fellow human being on the field, struggling to survive brought them to tears and created feelings of distress.
Is it possible that the NFL will go as far as setting career limits in terms of how long a career can last? It’s important to remember that the older players are, the more likely devastating injuries to likely to occur. The short answer is no. The NFL players’ Union would have to agree to such a measure which is a long shot. It’s almost a zero percent chance both sides will agree to such a rule. A decision on the length of a career is up to the players. Some doctors may intervene and tell players they need to seriously consider retirement depending on the type of injury or injuries sustained.
The most likely course of action other than more rule changes would be educating players on the dangers of longer careers and also advising players on what happens to their bodies over the course of multiple years of playing football.
This probably already happens. The NFL may make recommendations on how long a career should last before the health and safety of the players begin to decline. That is likely as far as the NFL can go in addition to any rule changes the leader makes. The bottom line is there is only so much the NFL can do.