Soccer players are not pawns – they are people, friends and brothers. When the players, officials and spectators are involved in the game, it’s easy to forget.
Monday night’s Cincinnati Bengals vs. Buffalo Bills game — or at least what we saw of it — was historic. Shortly into the first quarter, something unprecedented happened – Bill’s safety Damar Hamlin collapsed on the field from cardiac arrest.
There’s no real way to prevent what happened to Hamlin from happening again. It was a crazy accident. The sport doesn’t change, but what can change is our perspective when we follow these games. The incident humanized the NFL — every man has a story behind the helmet. you have life They have families. It shouldn’t have broken Hamlin’s heart to see that.
For hours, football officials, players, spectators at the stadium and viewers at home wondered if Hamlin was okay and what the NFL’s next step would be.
“The atmosphere went from one of the most electrifying energies to deafening silence,” said Bengals superfan Keith Scott, who was in attendance that night. Players from Bills and Bengals knelt, huddled in prayer and patiently awaited news of his well-being. The continuation of the game itself seemed like an afterthought.
Additional commercial breaks were inserted while the NFL considered how to proceed that night. You haven’t seen footage of paramedics working on Hamlin. Instead, you could see the pure horror on the faces of players and coaches. Moments captured at the time included a hug between Cincinnati Bengals coach Zac Taylor and Buffalo Bills coach Sean McDermott.
Eventually, it was announced that the game was suspended, a rarity for the NFL. As a stifling air fell over Paycor Stadium, the world connected. Millions expressed their support for Hamlin and his family – football fans and even non-sports fans sensed the seriousness of the situation. Hamlin’s incident was a tragic wake-up call that gamers are people too.
“Sometimes we’re looked at like gladiators, but at the end of the day we’re still people,” retired Cleveland Browns running back Tre Harbison, who is now focused on being a father to his two-month-old son, said Koda. For these players, the NFL is the dream. But it’s not just about time on the field – it’s about building generational wealth.
“The average player in the NFL lasts two and a half years in the league,” said sports marketing agent and talent manager Daniel David. “The guys I work with think long term and make money for their kids and grandkids. Football is not everything for these athletes.”
There’s no question that the NFL made the right move in postponing the game. There shouldn’t have been any hesitation in quitting in the first place. Although football is a business, the players’ health (physical and mental) comes first. It would have been unfair to force these men to keep playing while wondering if their teammate is still alive. It would have sent a negative message that the game replaces everyone and that every player is replaceable.
As the football world ponders its next move, the league should take steps to ensure player safety, which includes supporting athletes’ mental health. NFL agent Andy Ross — whose client, Buffalo Bills’ Tim Settle, was in the arena when Hamlin went down — believes it’s important to check on the well-being of players, not just after the accident, but always.
“The NFL Players Association has done a great job reaching out to players with a variety of mental health resources,” Ross said. “Therapy, counselors and in-house psychiatrists are available to men on all football teams.”
Damar Hamlin is sedated on a ventilator in hospital and is said to be making progress in his recovery. The Bengals-Bills game will not resume this week and a new date has not been set.
Carrie Berk is an author based in New York City. Her work was featured in CBS watch, Stylecaster, girls life and more. She is also a social media influencer with over 3.7 million followers on TikTok and 950,000 on Instagram (@karrieberkk).
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own.
https://www.newsweek.com/football-players-are-people-too-opinion-1771421 Soccer players are people too