Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Vol. CLIV, Issue 10
Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Trauma Bonding in Sports

On Sunday, Nov. 5, the Buffalo Bills played against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paycor, the Bengals’ home stadium. In this game, the Bengals fought to a 24-18 victory over the Bills. This was the first game the two had played against each other since Bills’ safety Damar Hamlin suffered cardiac arrest in a Jan. 2 game at Paycor due to commotio cordis

Commotio cordis is the term for sudden arrhythmic death as the cause of a hit to a specific part of your low/mid chest, happening in an exact moment of the cardiac cycle. Basically, when Hamlin went to tackle Tee Higgens on Jan. 2, he was hit in such a specific way that his heart stopped entirely. He required treatment for 20 minutes before finally being resuscitated on the field, where he would be rushed to the hospital and required another 10 minutes of treatment in order to be resuscitated a second time. The survival rate of commotio cordis is only 28%.

Upon his return to the stadium, Hamlin stood on the field for nearly 15 minutes right next to the spot where he had collapsed 10 months prior. The fact that he took the field at all is incredible as most thought he wouldn’t be able to live an active life after his incident, much less continue to play as a professional footballer. It’s impossible for any of us to imagine what it must have felt like to step onto that field again, for any player.

Although rivalries are a regular feature in sports, the players themselves are often tight-knit. Any player taking the field that game, Bill or Bengal, must have felt the heaviness of the game. Last time these two teams played against one another, somebody fell down dead in front of them; each and every one of those players were reliving something they wish they could forget. 

In a game between Tottenham Hotspur and Everton, Heung Min Son tackled Andre Gomes badly, leading to his ankle being put severely out of place. Players on both teams went to check on him but turned their heads away in horror at the injury. Son could be seen in tears in the aftermath of the tackle and reached out to Andre Gomes on social media to ensure that he was okay after the conclusion of the game.

When I played soccer, I found that players come to support each other when injuries occur, no matter the level. Since my youth, it was always enforced that you kneel when players are injured on the field in order to show respect. As I grew older, I continued to help out those who are injured or check on people I collided with. I have always found some large amount of respect to be found in the sports world, but oftentimes it comes at the expense of somebody else first.

Famous players or icons of the sporting world have a similar effect on people this way, but this typically occurs after their passing. We saw fierce rivals come together for mourning after the death of Diego Maradona. The professional basketball community, even teams and players who cultivated rivalries like Boston Celtics player Jason Tatum, came together to fiercely mourn the premature loss of Kobe Bryant. Rivalries included, sports have always been about so much more than simply watching people play a game. 

At the basis of all sports is fanbase, a bonding between people from all walks of life. It’s a special thing to be able to be surrounded by strangers, feeling the lows of loss and the joys of victory in unison with all those around you. The story of Damar Hamlin is one of overcoming some of the most incredible obstacles, and anybody who loves football or any sport can look at his strength and cannot help but root for his success.

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