Damar Hamlin’s collapse brought back ‘chilling’ memory for Bill Belichick
Belichick was an assistant coach for the Jets in 1996 when Detroit’s Reggie Brown was resuscitated on the field.
Bill Belichick normally doesn’t watch Monday Night football games, he told reporters during a press conference on Thursday.
But, with the Patriots set to play the Bills on a short week, he happened to have the game on.
Belichick watched Buffalo safety Damar Hamlin leave the field on an ambulance after being resuscitated following an episode of cardiac arrest.
The scene brought back memories from 1996, when Belichick was an assistant with the New York Jets. In the final game of the regular season, Lions linebacker Reggie Brown was injured on what Belichick recalled as “kind of a normal play.”
After assisting on a tackle, Brown suffered a spinal chord injury and laid on the ground without moving. Some players went back to the huddle before they realized something was wrong. Medical professionals administered CPR to Brown, saving his life. But, Brown never played in the NFL again.
“It was a very chilling game, one that I’ll obviously never forget,” Belichick said. “I’ve been to a lot of games, but there are some that are just, there’s a moment that sticks out and that would be one of them.”
Brown underwent emergency surgery and eventually recovered. He leads an active life in the Houston-area, Belichick said, and was able to avoid being bound to a wheelchair.
But that doesn’t change how frightening the moment was when it happened.
Belichick said he texted words of support to Buffalo Bills coach Sean McDermott.
Bengals coach Zac Taylor said McDermott told him that he couldn’t finish Monday night’s game because he wanted to be at the hospital with Hamlin.
As of Thursday afternoon, Hamlin is still in critical condition. He has shown “remarkable improvement” according to a statement released by the Bills.
Bills defensive back Kair Elam wrote on Twitter that Hamlin is awake.
“Football is a very great and competitive game,” Belichick said. “Unfortunately injuries and things like this can and do happen from time to time. It seems like the care that was given was prompt and good. I’m thankful for that. Life is bigger than this game. This is going to be one of those humbling moments for all of us that stands out.”
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