Tuesday, January 3, 2023

Praying for Damar Hamlin

By Eric Goska 
Damar Hamlin

 “Dad! Come here!”

The call came with some urgency.

I left my second-floor office and headed to the first-floor family room at the opposite end of our home.

My wife and daughter were watching Monday Night Football. Rather than game action, an ambulance dominated the television screen.

I’ve never met Damar Hamlin. If I saw him play, he was just another talented athlete on the field.

But in that moment, my heart went out to the Bills safety who had collapsed after tackling Tee Higgins.

I, like countless others, prayed for Damar. I, like so many others, felt completely helpless.

I told my wife and daughter I never wanted something like this to happen again. And as I held my breath in stunned silence, my mind turned to Chuck Hughes and Reggie Brown.

Chuck Hughes was a backup receiver for the Detroit Lions. He collapsed and died in a game against the Bears in 1971.

I was young and not yet a football fan on that fateful day. But years later, after having read accounts of what happened, I was left numb.

Reggie Brown was another Lion. He stayed down after making a tackle in the 1997 regular-season finale against the Jets.

As with Damar, Reggie was given CPR on the field. As with Damar, I feared for Reggie’s life.

Having interviewed dozens of retired players over the years, I can tell you this: what they miss most is their former teammates. They miss the camaraderie. They miss taking to the field with a common goal.

Accolades are fine. Trophies are shiny. Stats can be entertaining.

But the sense I get is that many of these former players would be willing to set all that aside to experience again playing with their brothers in a game they so love.

As so, like many of you, Damar remains at the forefront of my thoughts. I pray for his complete recovery.

For me, the sight of him back on his feet would be the most joyous outcome of this season.


  1. From Brian wolf ...

    Good luck Damar ...

    The spotlight is on the NFL owners as well ...
    Will they resume this game and when?
    Could they cancel these upcoming games and leave the standings as they are?
    Or ... simply play the games while reducing the extra week before the SB?

    They could declare last nights game a forfeit and go to other tiebrackers or winning percentage in determining seeding in the AFC.
    Like I have said, its time to get rid of the TNF package and mandate more padding and better protective equipment for the players.
    We will see ...

  2. These comments are political, and probably reflect how the NFL is forced to think about this based on the media spotlight they are always in. The truth is this appears to be a medical issue that has nothing to do with league safety or playing on Thursday. I remember a few years ago a person in my office died of a heart attack sitting in his chair at his desk. There was no one to blame for his unfortunate demise, and we all finished working that day and showed up the next day. Stuff happens. Hope he recovers but let’s not make this more than it is.

    1. From Brian wolf ...

      Youre right, it is a medical issue and the games will go on as usual but how are they going to treat this game? A Bengal win, a tie, a forfeiture or asterick?

      Isolated incident or not, the league will be feeling more heat about player safety and with the owners already wanting an 18 game season, there will be blowback ...

  3. Damar Hamlin will soon stand up. Pray for him!

  4. I was 17 years old and was watching the October 27, 1971 Bears game on TV with my father. The Bears were playing the Lions and the game was close to ending.

    A few seconds after a Lions' incomplete pass, the CBS director cut to a shot of Chuck Hughes lying on the ground with Dick Butkus standing over him. Butkus then began frantically waving to the Lions bench. This may seem weird, but I immediately sensed that Hughes was dead, just from how he was lying on the ground. In fact, I immediately turned to my father and said "He's dead". It remains a vivid memory.

    I read later that Butkus got a lot of hate mail, from people claiming he killed Hughes.