The Jambar Editorial: More than a game

While teams play to win, a shocking moment caught on live television saw Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin fighting for his life. 

Hamlin, who was hospitalized following a game, was finally released Jan. 11 as thoughts and prayers continue to surround him. 

The rallying of support for Hamlin has been a collected front from both football fans and people who’ve never seen a football game alike. 

Hamlin, who went into cardiac arrest during the game versus the Cincinnati Bengals on Jan. 2, saw an overwhelming amount of support from the NFL and people from around the country. 

The Chasing M’s Foundation Community Toy Drive, which was founded by Hamlin back in 2020 before he began his NFL career, has seen an outpouring of donations in support of Hamlin and his interests. 

The GoFundMe has surpassed $8 million raised with many donors including a digit ‘3’ in the amount to honor Hamlin’s jersey number. 

The unity behind Hamlin since his hospitalization has been uplifting, however questions about how such an accident can happen are to be determined. 

Football stadiums, which can be known to host fights and be known for cheers, chants and loud volumes, were left silent in respect for a player. 

Fans refused to leave until the game was officially called off. One Cincinnati fan held a sign asking for prayers for #3. To see a sense of community between two opposing teams was scarily beautiful and vulnerable. 

Even those who don’t watch sports often, people’s heartache of not knowing what could be next for Hamlin filled the country. Our hearts shattered watching videos looking for answers as to what happened on the field. 

It was hard to not watch, not follow and not crave something. Every American sat and waited for more information, praying — even people who worshiped no denomination whatsoever prayed — for a player’s life. 

That unity was spread across stadiums and small towns alike and is something society often lacks. It’s empathy in its rawest form and should be spread more often. 

The NFL will not resume the Buffalo game against Cincinnati and has approved NFL clubs to demonstrate support for Hamlin’s recovery. 

Teams and leagues decorated fields, held moments of support, wore dedicated pregame shirts and allowed Bills players to sport ‘3’s’ on their jerseys and helmets during games. 

Now that he has been released, a sense of relief washes over the NFL, its fans and viewers from across the country as they can now await Hamlin’s return to the field.