by Brandon Reiter
Sometimes, it is in the darkest times where we can see human kindness shine the brightest.
At least, that is how I am choosing to look at the horrible situation that unfolded Sunday night in Cincinnati, when Bill’s safety, Damar Hamlin collapsed after making a routine tackle where he took a sharp blow straight to his heart. As of this writing, there has been no further update since his family reported that he is still in critical condition under sedation at the hospital.
It is no secret that football is a violent sport. It is also no secret that the NFL has had a rough history in terms of how they handle players’ safety. They covered up the repeated head trauma effects for years, but the simple fact here is that this particular injury was a very unique and rare occurrence. Seeing something like this unfold on live television was traumatic for everyone involved, whether it be the players on the field or the fans watching at home.
Often, we see that when people experience trauma they confuse their emotions with anger and need to blame. With the exceptions of a few people on Twitter, I am happy to see how the sporting world and beyond have reacted and come together during this moment. Despite something so terrible happening we have seen some of the best sides of human kindness.
Since the moment Hamlin collapsed, everyone involved did the very best they could do to manage a difficult situation. From the medical staff getting to him right away to administer CPR, to the players surrounding Hamlin on the field to give him much deserved privacy during a moment of life and death, to the NFL eventually making the right decision to postpone the game, everyone who had to make a decision in an unprecedent time acted as human as possible. It is easy to criticize decision making when you are not the one in the moment faced with a very difficult dilemma.
It feels that when terrible things like this happen, it is often to a really good person, and from what I’ve been able to read so far, that’s exactly what Hamlin is. Right after Hamlin was drafted into the NFL in 2020, he started a toy drive in his hometown, Pittsburgh. During the summer of 2020 he was able to raise $5,000 in toys for his community. In just hours following his injury, more than $4 Million had been donated and the current total is now north of $6 million.
I know there will be people that say “it shouldn’t take something like this for people to be nice”. Which is true to some extent, but what is the alternative here? Would we rather nobody donate because it’s only because he was injured. Here’s the thing: most charities are created because something awful is happening. While it is devastating what Hamlin and his family are going through, it is amazing to see that outpouring of love, sympathy, and money in his honor.
I hope that people can take a look at this situation and just process. I hope they keep whatever anger they may have to themselves, not try to blame anyone, and give what they can, whether it just be a prayer or a dollar to his amazing Toy drive. Those are the best actions to take right now collectively as human beings.
Below is a link to donate to Hamlin’s Toy Drive.