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Damar Hamlin and the NFL

Damar Hamlin remained in critical condition Tuesday, one night after collapsing on the field during the Bills vs Cincinnati game.

Doctors reported that Hamlin went into cardiac arrest Monday night within seconds of impact with another player.

Hamlin’s heart stopped twice, necessitating CPR both on the field and in the ambulance, according to his uncle.

While the exact details have not been verified by medical personnel, several reports from the scene stated Hamlin’s heart stopped for as long as nine minutes.

Reports: The injury

Medical professionals and experts, verified by the NFL’s doctors, report that Hamlin experienced commotio cordis caused by arrhythmia.

From the American Medical Association: “Commotio cordis is a phenomenon in which a sudden blunt impact to the chest causes sudden death in the absence of cardiac damage.”

The New York Times reports:

“For an arrhythmia to occur, there has to be what Dr. Baggish called “a perfect storm” — the chest must be struck in a precise place at a precise moment while the heart is relaxing after squeezing out blood, and with the right amount of force.”

While more common in baseball, hockey and lacrosse, such an injury is not unheard of in football. The most dangerous part of cardiac arrest is the potential for oxygen depletion to the brain.

The last update provided by the family stated that Hamlin’s oxygen dependency decreased form 100% Monday to 50% Tuesday, a sign of improvement.

No other information about his condition has been released at this time.

Social Media: Disinformation about the injury

Hamlin lost consciousness at about 7:55 PM CT Monday night. An ambulance was on the field by 8:01 PM CT. Medical teams performed CPR for just over nine minutes on the field, ending at about 8:06 PM CT.

At 8:08 PM, while Hamlin remained unconscious on the field and players were in tears, Charlie Kirk retweeted a post by David Drew Pinsky insinuating that Hamlin’s collapse was somehow connected to the COVID-19 vaccine, with a reference to the propaganda project “died suddenly,” a widely discredited conspiracy theory about vaccinations and cardiovascular health.

Pinsky goes by the name “Dr. Drew” in his role as a media personality and is an addiction medicine specialist who has been peddling COVID-19 conspiracies for years and has jumped on the “died suddenly” propaganda train to ingratiate himself with fringe medical groups.

The disinformation film was directed by self-described “magician” Nicholas Stumphauzer and a Florida man named Matthew Miller Skow, a man twice convicted in Texas and whose previous work includes a short stint at “the Endtimes Newscast.”

Kirk, the founder of far-right political group Turning Point USA, doubled-down on the conspiracies the following day, boasting of the public outrage directed at him for exploiting a tragedy to further his political agenda.

Reports: NFL told players to take five minutes and warm up

Joe Buck, ESPN’s live broadcaster for Monday night’s game, reported at the time that Bills and Bengals players were told to take five minutes to warm up before resuming play immediately after the ambulance left the field.

The NFL is disputing this. ESPN stands by its reporting.

Buck, a veteran reporter previously with Fox sports from 1994-2001, was told by John Parry that the game would resume and players would have five minutes to warm up.

Buck said Perry was in direct communication with the league.

At the time the announcement was made, live footage showed Joe Burrow warming up, adding credibility to Buck’s assertion.

It was then that Bengals coach Zac Taylor walked across the field to talk to Bills coach Sean McDermott. Only after the coaches spoke and then approached a referee was the game temporarily postponed.

Whether there was a miscommunication between the referees, John Parry, NFL leadership and the teams remains unclear because Parry has not spoken publicly about what he was or was not told by the NFL.

Miscommunication during a situation like this isn’t unusual, but the video footage of the events as they unfolded support Buck’s claim.

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