By Lauren Rex
All eyes will be on the Cincinnati Benglas, Buffalo Bills match up this afternoon in the playoffs. Not just because it’s playoffs but because their last game stopped just five minutes in after Bills Safety Damar Hamlin fell to the ground in an unprecedented injury.
On Jan. 2, Hamlin suffered cardiac arrest on the field, resulting in having to have his heart restarted.
University of Findlay baseball player, Jacob Flaherty, was at the football game and saw the whole thing unfold.
“I’ve been to a bunch of Bengals games, and the environment was awesome to start,” Flaherty said.
After the accident with Hamlin, the energy in the stadium shifted.
“It was the loudest, and quietest, I’ve ever heard that stadium,” Flaherty said.
The fans and the stadium seemed confused, as there had never been something this serious seen before.
Flaherty knew the situation was serious when an ambulance was brought onto the field.
“It seemed like an hour, but it was only like four minutes,” Flaherty said. “Then in five minutes the ambulance was gone.”
“I wasn’t scared, but as an athlete it was shocking how much people cared for him,” Flaherty said. “Some people think of athletes as just tools for entertainment, but everyone started caring showing their remorse, it was eye opening to see how much people care.”
As a pitcher on the UF baseball team, Flaherty went home and did research to find out more on what could’ve happened to Hamlin.
“I found commotio cordis, which happens when there is a hard impact at the heart, and in a millisecond can stop the heart,” Flaherty said. “It can happen in football, but it’s very common in soccer as well, Flaherty said.”
There has been no official cause of his cardiac arrest released from Hamlin, the Bills, or his physicians though many have speculated it was commotio cordis. The conditioni occurs with sudden impact to the chest, causing the heart to stop beating or arrhythmia. It can be fatal and starting CPR as soon as the athlete goes down is key.
Within seconds of Hamlin falling to the ground from being struck in his chest, trainers and physicians were doing their best to help him, starting CPR before the ambulance arrived.
Seeing something like this as an athlete in a sport with a possibility of impact is hard to take in.
“I try not to think about it, because thinking about it makes it a lot worse and scarier for me, but it’s definitely possible,” Flaherty said.
Another UF student athlete, Brooke Swavel, was concerned about Hamlin and his situation. After seeing his story, Swavel thought about her softball career. She’s had concussions in the past, but before this, never thought of anything more.
Swavel’s main thought was the aftermath, and how one can continue their sport after suffering such a traumatic event.
“How do you go from that big star athlete to not an athlete at all anymore,” Swavel said. “
It scared me, thinking about being a student athlete, and then not being able to play again.”
UF English equestrian major, Sam Mayer, said that the specific incident scared her as well though she’s never heard of it happening in her own sport.
“It was a scary accident, but I don’t think that’s an incident we see often in our sport,” Mayer said. “We get concussions and thrown off, but I’ve never heard of someone going into cardiac arrest for that type of chest trauma, not like in sports such as football and soccer.”
Flaherty looks forward to the Jan. 22 playoff match up as their history will make for a memorable game.
“All Bengals fans are Bills fans, and all Bills fans are Bengals fans,” Flaherty said. “And we’re just rooting for each other.”