Damar Hamlin Incident is Frightening Reminder of Football’s Violence, Consequences

I love football. During the past year, especially, perhaps because I was able to watch without thinking about what I might have to write, I really enjoyed college football Saturdays and NFL Sundays. (The success of Michigan and the Detroit Lions probably didn’t hurt either.)

But there have been plenty of times over the past 15 years or so when I’ve wondered if I should watch football, if I should support it with my fandom, viewership, and work. The sport is so incredibly violent, taking such a toll on the physical and mental conditions of the men who play it. Players are left with broken-down bodies and diminished mental capacity due to head trauma.

It was impossible not to think about that Monday night as Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin collapsed on the field and required CPR before being taken off the field in an ambulance. Hamlin appeared to be hit hard in the chest while tackling Cincinnati Bengals receiver Tee Higgins, though his head and neck could also have been affected by the impact. The Bills later confirmed in a statement that Hamlin suffered cardiac arrest and is currently hospitalized in critical condition.

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