Tackling The Violent Side Of Sports…

Sleepless Monday Night.

I was home in time to watch the highly anticipated game between the Buffalo Bills and Cincinnati Bengals.

After a “routine” tackle I observed a Bills player stand up and immediately collapse.

Damar Hamlin went into cardiac arrest. CPR was administered on the field.

Hamlin sustained blunt force trauma to his chest “in the exact right spot, at the exact right moment during his heartbeat,” which caused his heart to experience arrhythmia.

Football players were gathered around his limp body on the playing field…strong, grown men weeping for their teammate and fellow human, a look of shock on their faces.

I admit to being a lifelong football fan.

I have witnessed these tragedies before…”The Hit” in 1960 by Chuck Bednarik of the Eagles on Frank Gifford who missed a year of football, Darryl Stingley being paralyzed after the hit on him by Jack Tatum in 1978, Miami Dolphin’s quarterback Tua Tagovailoa‘s two brutal head traumas this season just to mention a few.

It is a violent game with many players experiencing lasting injuries and even permanent brain damage.

At its best, football is a way out for many impoverished kids. It is character building, it offers camaraderie, lifelong friendships, huge payoffs and lasting star power.

The NFL is big business. Money is the guiding force.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell’s take home pay the past two years has been $63.9 million annually.

The MNF game should have been instantaneously canceled. The NFL organization took too long to call it just like they took too long to do a deep dive into chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) which is a progressive brain condition that’s thought to be caused by repeated blows to the head and repeated episodes of concussion.

Having worked with former NFL players I know the league has been slow to provide solid long term health care benefits to retired football players.

But one of the great things about sports is that it does unite fans of all allegiances unlike politics.

People are inherently good.

In December 2020, Hamlin set up a community toy drive for children in need in his hometown of McKees Rocks, Pennsylvania.

Hamlin wanted to give back to his community as he had experienced a dicey childhood and lost three friends to gun violence and his father was incarcerated for 31/2 years for selling drugs.

After the devastating incident on Monday Night Football that GoFundMe became a way for people around the world to send their love and support to Hamlin.

The original goal of the fundraiser was $2,500. As of early this morning over $6 million has been donated by 205,000 donors.

I woke my husband up during the night to let him know I appreciate him, I sent my daughter an upbeat good morning text, I smiled at people I don’t know or particularly like yesterday.

I had a long chat with Queen E. during my 3 mile walk.

I am guilty of not always expressing joy and love and sometimes opting for negativity.

Please do not let a tragedy be the only prompt for you to express love, appreciation and generosity of spirit.

I am going to try to valiantly pass it forward every day.

I just donated to Damar Hamlin’s charity. I selfishly needed to feel as if I was doing something constructive. Here’s the link:


Hamlin was living his dream Monday night, starting at safety for the Buffalo Bills in a game with huge playoff ramifications

It turned into a nightmare which hopefully can still have a happy ending.

Damar Hamlin, please get well and let us all be able to celebrate your recovery.

One Comment

  1. Thanks for recommending positive things we can do besides willow in sadness.

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