Greg M. Cooper
Hamlin, seen here in action earlier this season, was taken off in an ambulance.

CINCINNATI — Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin collapsed on the field and was administered CPR before being driven away in an ambulance during Monday night’s game against the Bengals, which was halted after the injury.

Hamlin collided with Bengals receiver Tee Higgins after a completion. He got to his feet, appeared to adjust his face mask with his right hand, and then fell backward about three seconds later and lay motionless.

Hamlin was surrounded by stunned players from both teams. The ambulance was on the field four minutes after Hamlin collapsed, with many players in tears, including cornerback Tre’Davious White. The quarterbacks — Buffalo’s Josh Allen and Cincinnati’s Joe Burrow — embraced.

When Hamlin was taken off the field 16 minutes after he collapsed, the Bills gathered in prayer. He was driven to University of Cincinnati Medical Center by ambulance, with ESPN reporting his mother was with him.

Hamlin’s uniform was cut off and he appeared to be getting CPR from medical personnel. ESPN reported on its telecast that Hamlin was also given oxygen.

“No one’s been through this,” longtime NFL quarterback Troy Aikman said on the ESPN telecast. “I’ve never seen anything like it, either.”

Hamlin collapsed at 8:55 p.m. EST and the game was suspended 21 minutes later, after Cincinnati coach Zac Taylor walked across the field to meet with Buffalo coach Sean McDermott and game officials. Players walked off the field slowly and into their locker rooms.

At 10 p.m., the NFL announced the game was halted for the night, with its scheduled resumption to be determined.

The aftermath of the injury was reminiscent of when Bills tight end Kevin Everett lay motionless on the field after making a tackle on the second-half opening kickoff in Buffalo’s 2007 season-opening game against the Denver Broncos.

Everett sustained a spinal cord injury that initially left him partially paralyzed.

The 24-year-old Hamlin spent five years of college at Pitt — his hometown — and appeared in 48 games for the Panthers over that span. He was a second-team All-ACC performer as a senior, was voted a team captain and was picked to play in the Senior Bowl.

He was drafted in the sixth round by the Bills in 2021, played in 14 games as a rookie and then became a starter this year once Micah Hyde was lost for the season to injury.

Entering the game, the 6-foot, 200-pound Hamlin had 91 tackles, including 63 solo tackles, and 1½ sacks.

A tweet from the Pitt football account was simple and clear: “Damar Hamlin is the best of us. We love you, 3,” the tweet said, referring to Hamlin by his college jersey number. “Praying for you.”

In 1971, Lions tight end Chuck Hughes, 28, collapsed while clutching his chest with roughly a minute to go in a game against Chicago at Tiger Stadium. Attended to by both doctors and trainers, Hughes was taken off the field by ambulance. The game was completed, with news breaking after it that Hughes had died of a heart attack.


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