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Damar Hamlin's collapse leaves NFL fans and players searching for hope

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Bills Bengals Football
Jeff Dean
Associated Press
Buffalo Bills players react as teammate Damar Hamlin is examined during the first half of an NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Monday, Jan. 2, 2023, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Jeff Dean)

Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin is still in critical condition after he went into cardiac arrest during a Monday Night Football game against the Cincinnati Bengals.

For viewers watching at home, the looks on players' faces were enough to know how serious the situation was when Buffalo Bills defensive player Damar Hamlin collapsed on the field after making a tackle.

Hamlin's collapse came in the first quarter of the nationally televised game against the Cincinnati Bengals. He was given medical treatment for nearly 20 minutes before being taken to a hospital.

Currently, Hamlin is sedated on a ventilator as doctors work toward getting him to breathe on his own.

Bobby Bell, Pro Football Hall of Famer, says he experienced something similar when he played for the Kansas City Chiefs in the '60s. He says it's tough on the players to witness something like this.

"Your teammates and even the team on the other side sit back and realize it's a possibility that this can happen to me," Bell told KCUR's Up To Date. "They think about it and it goes through their mind."

The incident has even pushed some fans to rethink supporting the NFL and reconsider allowing their children to play football due to its violent nature and potential for serious injury.

The Bills-Bengals game was suspended after the incident, and it's not clear yet whether the game will be resumed at another time.

"Initially, obviously right now, for you know, today, yesterday, tomorrow to try to finish that game would be ridiculous. But I think by this weekend, they've got to move on," says sports psychologist Dr. Andrew Jacobs. "I think playing is maybe the best thing for them to get refocused on what they have to do. They still got to finish playing the season."

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When I host Up To Date each morning at 9 a.m., my aim is to engage the community in conversations about the Kansas City area’s challenges, hopes and opportunities. I try to ask the questions that listeners want answered about the day’s most pressing issues and provide a place for residents to engage directly with newsmakers. My email is steve@kcur.org.
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