Soon after tackling Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins on Jan. 2, 2023, 24-year-old Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin collapsed on the field in front of millions of fans, leaving NFL players and fans of both teams in despair and many of them in tears. His staff quickly determined that he had experienced a cardiac arrest. Damar was rushed to a nearby hospital where he is still in serious condition as of Jan. 3. He was evacuated from the site by ambulance after CPR was performed and his heartbeat was recovered.
On Jan. 3, Damar’s family issued the following statement: “We want to sincerely thank everyone who has loved and supported Damar throughout this trying time on behalf of our entire family. The prayers, kind words, and donations from fans around the nation have deeply touched us. Being a member of the Buffalo Bills organisation and receiving their support makes us feel really blessed. We also want to express our gratitude to Coach Taylor and the Bengals for all they have done. Your kindness and caring truly mean a lot to us.”
“Praying for Hamlin. Jesus please let everything be ok” –Ciara
“Wow. I am praying for you @HamlinIsland. Praying for health and safety.” –Denver Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson
“We’re praying for Damar and his family this morning in Tampa. Moments like this put into perspective what it means to play this game we love. Thankful for our communities in Cincinnati and Buffalo for the overwhelming level of care and support I know they’ll continue to provide.” –Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady
“This is so upsetting and the scene on the field was terrifying. Praying for Damar and his family,” Katie Couric tweeted before later promoting the charity work Damar holds so dear. “A holiday toy drive fundraiser created by #DamarHamlin in 2020 is still active and now has over $3 million in donations,” she posted, adding a link to the GoFundMe.
“I’m praying that you pull through bro. Love,” tweeted Tee Higgins, the Cincinnati Bengals receiver Damar Hamlin tackled before suffering cardiac arrest.
“I seen the play, but I don’t know what happened,” NBA star LeBron James initially told reporters after his own game. “My thoughts and super prayers go up to the skies above for that kid’s family, for him, for that brotherhood of the NFL, and everybody who’s a part of the NFL family. It’s definitely the right call, by whoever made that call, Roger Goodell [NFL Commissioner] or whoever had the authority to make that call to suspend that [game]. The safety of players in all sports is always the most important. It was a terrible thing to see.” He added, as reported by CNN, “I’m a huge fan of the NFL. I’m a huge fan of football. You never want to see anything like that happen in the type of competition they’re playing in.” LeBron later tweeted a video of Damar greeting his family on the field, captioning it, “Praying for you kid!!!”