Prayers for Damar Hamlin.
Your daughter represents the best of the next generation. I hope you and your wife recognize her empathy comes from growing up around you two. Empathy comes out in your writing John - always has. I was dumbstruck that the NFL was actually considering restarting the game once they were aware of the life threatening nature of Damar's injury. As you point out, the players got it, the fans got it, the coaches got it and acted like leaders. Shame on the NFL for not taking the lead. I give the MNF broadcasters a break on one point you made. I think they were right to say, once they knew the gravity of the situation that, "The game has now become secondary." They were talking in the context of the game itself, not life in general. In my opinion, when you are watching a game of that importance, it is the primary thing on your mind at that time. Until it isn't. I'm giving them a pass.
Good column. Thank you.
Praying for Damar. Felt like a second sucker punch after hearing earlier that Uche Nwaneri had died on 12/30/22. Uche was a cool guy! I knew of him more from his appearances on Geeks + Gamers Mario Kart races on Sunday night, but I did see him play, too. Sad, sad few days for the NFL.🙏🙏🙏
Thanks for your comments, John. I am a rabid sports fan, obviously like you, but I very much appreciate your continual addressing of the more human side of sports. I did not see the game, but appreciate how the players and coaches realized that the players and fans feelings were more important than continuing the game.
Scary stuff, it’s why we now have up to four AED’s on the field and any time during games and practice.
The prayer army has been activated for sure.
Great thoughts and God bless the young man. It pales in comparison but I hated to see Utah QB Rising hurt in back to back Rose Bowls.
When we say league what we are really referring to is 32 elite-out of touch $billionaires. You discussed the vibrating football game a few days ago that many of us received as Christmas gifts over the years. Well the team owners view real flesh and blood players and coaches as game board pieces for their entertainment. Look no further than the concussion epidemic. Slow to react helmet technology. We now have 6'8" 14 year old high school kids that weigh in at 300lbs. By the time they are muscled up and playing at the pro level, it's like getting hit by a truck when bodies connect at full speed on the field of play. Maybe it's time for extra padding for internal organs---robot looking uniforms? We know the owners will balk over the expenses, that's a given. I'm sure the first number called last night was to the lawyers. The Miami QB should be banned from playing over concussions, but the Miami team owner needs his piece on the game board.
Interesting the tangents people’s minds take after a moment such as last night’s.
Football is a violent sport by nature; lot’s of skill and finesse is paramount, however, as Bruce Smith once said; “I go through sixty car wrecks a game”
Do I love to watch it? Absolutely
Did I play? No way
Did I try to stop my grandsons from playing? No
Do I deny the huge monetary motivations of all involved? Absolutely not
Is a professional aware of the risks? Of course
Do fans have a clue? I think so
The loss of human focus is what bothers me the most. When racial commentary, political commentary, and old skool stereotypes creep in, I just shake my head.
As a believer in Jesus Christ, I am touched by the focus of so many on the reality of healing prayer. I am also awaiting the diatribe of those denouncing the national platform that this Truth was given the opportunity dominate.
I rarely watch professional football but the Bengals/Bills game followed the Rose Bowl game on the streaming channel I was watching. After I took a break and returned to my computer the professional game was on. The camera was on the Bills bench. I noticed a helmet, with something written on the back, sitting on a post next to a player. I was curious and zoomed in to read it: CHOOSE LOVE
A few plays later Damar Hamlin made a routine tackle, stood up and immediately collapsed like a rag doll. Players, and then viewers sensed that this was not a normal injury. When we found out that CPR and heart defibrillator were administered the entire energy and emotion shifted and focused, and heightened. What I noticed was that in the midst of what could be characterized as a traumatic event something wonderful began to surface--what Lincoln called "The better angels of human nature"--caring, compassion, support, unity and even loving
People were actually demonstrating the appeal, request, value, invocation written on the back of the helmets...
Two rules changes will stop 95% of all football injuries:
(1) Take the cleats off of the shoes.
(2) Must wrap arms when tackling. This has been a rule in rugby for decades.
I'm inclined to allow the NFL an opportunity to reflect on how their reaction unfolded. This severity of a situation is uncharted. Same for the broadcasters who were left with filling air time once they've reported the situation and made the appropriate observations. It was just unprecedented and requires time to understand how to move forward with prevention, care, rules, and reactions.
Darryl Stingley came to mind right away. The NFL has done a nice job of removing some of the vicious hits we used to see back in the 70s/80s. Dave
Thank you for writing this. I know it has a TON of coverage, but it is nice to have someone at the local level share their experience and thoughts.
I relate very closely, as my daughter is 8. I had gone up stairs to help with bath time with the younger kiddos when my daughter Joella ran upstairs exclaiming that someone in the game had got hurt.
She asked all night long about him. And, yes, we shared a prayer together.
Lord have mercy.
It is well documented about how violent football was back in the late 1800's and early 1900's. At least 45 football players died from their injuries in 1900-1905. Rules were changed and equipment were added for safety due to the public outcry and leadership of Teddy Roosevelt.
We may very well need new rules. Weight limits? No cleats as another poster Colin suggested --in addition to wrap up tackles. I think keeping heads up is very important. Any other suggestions?
Prayers for Damir and everyone suffering health issues now
As a firefighter, it’s easy to forget that witnessing (or performing) CPR is not a normal, everyday occurrence for the general public. The trauma it leaves behind can be devastating. Great writing as always John.