Football players are aware of the risk that comes with playing the sport. However, Tennessee football tight end Jacob Warren noted that players usually step onto the field not thinking about life-threatening injuries.
As a result, when Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin went into cardiac arrest on Monday Night Football against the Cincinnati Bengals, it was a sobering reality for what many of them face. As sobering for Warren is that it came after what looked like a routine tackle.
“That’s the last thing on your mind whenever you step on the field because if that was what you thought about all the time whenever you’re on the field, you wouldn’t play the game, so I think that, you know, everyday you step on the field, you understand that risk, but that risk is very, very much in the back of your head because of just how many banked reps you have where it’s like, ‘Yeah, I took that hit, and I was okay,'” he said. “I’m sure a hit extremely similar to that that happened last night has happened hundreds of thousands of times and it will happen 100,000 times after after this.”
The collapse happened after Hamlin tackled Tee Higgins, who drove his helmet into Hamlin’s chest. Hamlin got up, stumbled for a second, and then collapsed.
Many doctors were speculating that the cardiac arrest was caused because Hamlin was hit in a specific spot on his chest at a specific time, that has to be down to the millisecond, in the heartbeat routine. Warren said all anyone can do is trust everything will be alright
“It’s scary from from a player’s perspective,” he said. “It’s scary from just a human being perspective of how quickly things can change and how fragile everything is, and you kind of just have to just trust that the Lord is going to protect your body. I pray every day that the Lord protects my body and my mind and my soul as I play the game, and he has so far.”
Everybody who has watched football has always seen the difference between serious injuries and regular injuries. For Tennessee football fans, Inky Johnson’s career-ending injury in 2006 stands out.
Warren said there have been moments in his football career where it was clear practice needed to be stopped because of head and neck issue. He said it’s different from other injuries where play continues.
“That’s more concern for this person, just as a human being rather than as a football player,” he said. “An ankle will take you out of football, but stuff like that will take you out of out of life. And that’s not something that, you know, you want to just kind of skip over or not pay attention to.”
However, even with those serious injuries, the game usually continues on. For instance, with most head injuries, despite how scary they are, play eventually continues
Obviously, that wouldn’t have been possible Monday night given how serious the incident turned out to be. Warren said he never would have been able to return to the field after just five minutes if he were out there, as it was rumored the teams were told to.
“That’s the weirdest thing, is everyone’s in this state of adrenaline, and everyone’s tensions are high, and it’s a lot of high stress, and everybody’s bodies are flowing, and and then something like that happens, and then you have to come down to earth, and then once you come down and then you realize how serious the thing is, that’s really hard on your nervous system, like quite literally your central nervous system, and your mind and your your emotions, and I couldn’t see myself being able to effectively actually play a game,” he said.