Parents, coaches concerned about football injuries after Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin collapsed

Hamlin remains in critical condition

Parents and coaches become worrisome when incidents such as what took place Monday night as they have young children playing sports. After what occurred, you wonder if coaches and players will think twice about walking back on the field. But people remembered in 1998, Chris Pronger of the St. Louis Blues suffered the same kind of injury when a puck hit him, and he was able to recover, so it is freakish. And that's what parents and coaches seem to think.

DETROITBuffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin remains in critical condition after he collapsed during Monday Night Football against the Cincinnati Bengals.

Hamlin suffered cardiac arrest and collapsed moments after getting up from a tackle on Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins.

Medical teams performed CPR and gave the 24-year-old oxygen on the field for nearly 10 minutes.

Hamlin remains sedated in critical condition at the UC Medical Center in Cincinnati with plans to remain there overnight. Meantime, family, friends, and teammates united in supporting his recovery.

“He has a strong family. He has the ideal support system,” said Hamlin’s friend and marketing rep Jordon Rooney. “I mean, they’re optimistic. Demar is someone that you would trust and believe to come out on top of anything that he is faced with.”

Tuesday (Jan. 3) afternoon in Buffalo, fans gathered outside Highmark Stadium for a prayer vigil. The NFL postponed Monday night’s game. Officials say there’s been no discussion about this weekend’s games and that counselors are available for every team in the league.

That type of injury is what doctors say is commotio cordis which happens when someone suffers a hard blow to the chest at just the precise instant in the electrical cycle and stops the heart.

Read: Commotio cordis: Explaining the condition that caused Damar Hamlin to collapse on Monday Night Football

Commotio cordis is very rare but has often been seen in other sports where a player gets hit with a hockey puck or a baseball.

Parents and coaches become worrisome when incidents such as what took place Monday night as they have young children playing sports.

After what occurred, you wonder if coaches and players will think twice about walking back on the field. But people remembered in 1998, Chris Pronger of the St. Louis Blues suffered the same kind of injury when a puck hit him, and he was able to recover, so it is freakish. And that’s what parents and coaches seem to think.

“My first thought was that I’m taking my son to college on Saturday,” said parent, Assistant Principal of Chippewa Valley High School, Kari Drogosh.

Drogosh’s son Brady is going to the University of Cincinnati to play quarterback. She’s a former athletics director, and her husband is a coach. They have often factored in the dangers of the game for their sons but also note the safety measures in place.

“Really short of being at the hospital, that was probably the second best place for something a medical emergency to take place because of the people who are qualified that are right there,” Drogosh said.

“I think it’s kind of a fluke,” said youth football coach Tom Maclean. “And I really don’t think parents have to worry about their youth player succumbing to a cardiac event out on the field.”

Maclean coaches the St. Regis Raiders kids grades three through eight. He and others don’t think what happened to Hamlin will prompt parents to shield their kids from any ball field because of the life lessons.

“From a physical fitness standpoint, team building, confidence building, there’s really no sport quite like it,” Maclean said. “So I kind of ascribe to the Harbaugh brothers and what they say about playing the game, and the advantages far outweigh the risks.”

“I’m not sure it will really discourage people because I think it was such a freak moment,” Drogosh said. “And the amount of injury that you see, like, I think something like Tua’s injury would be more indicative of someone not wanting their child to play because it’s multiple blows over time.”

Local 4 reached out to some youth football parents who didn’t want to go on camera, but they were in unison that this isn’t what might keep their kids from playing football, but instead the injury risk when the players get older and the competitors get bigger.

Sudden cardiac arrest is the leading cause of death in young athletes. But those cardiac arrests are most often caused by an undiagnosed, pre-existing heart condition, not a blow to the chest.

Experts say both causes highlight the importance of having people trained in CPR and an AED at the ready.


About the Authors:

Jason is Local 4’s utility infielder. In addition to anchoring the morning newscast, he often reports on a variety of stories from the tragic, like the shootings at Michigan State, to the off-beat, like great gas station food.

Brandon Carr is a digital content producer for ClickOnDetroit and has been with WDIV Local 4 since November 2021. Brandon is the 2015 Solomon Kinloch Humanitarian award recipient for Community Service.