NFL players have reportedly expressed reluctance to return to play following Damar Hamlin’s cardiac arrest.
The Buffalo Bills safety, 24, remains sedated in the ICU after he collapsed on the field and was resuscitated following a hit on the Cincinnati Bengals’ Tee Higgins on Monday.
Members from both teams were visibly stunned as medical staff gave Hamlin CPR on the field with some even in tears at the traumatic scene.
Players reportedly expressed reluctance to return after Damar Hamlin collapsed
Both Bills (above) and Bengals players were visibly upset when Hamlin received CPR on the field
And there have been talks about whether some players around the league feel ready to return to the field to play this weekend, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal.
As prayers and requests poured in from around the league, some stars, whether they witnessed the incident in person on the field or on television, are said to have expressed a desire to delay the Week 18 games, NFL agent David Canter that’ has been a real conversation for the past two days since Hamlin’s incident.
The topic of mental health in athletes has become more prominent in recent years after stars like Simone Biles and Naomi Osaka opened up about the struggles.
A recent study from 2019 in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, found that elite athletes may suffer from higher rates of trauma-related mental disorders, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, than general population.
The 24-year-old remains in intensive care after suffering a heart attack on Monday
As a result, sports officials are reportedly increasingly being asked to treat athletes’ mental health on par with their physical well-being.
A sports psychologist, Dr. Scott Goldman, whose situation makes for a difficult debate as everyone deals with trauma differently.
He explained that some players ‘can’t fathom playing’ while their teammates are in an unstable condition, while returning to the field can provide ‘sanctuary and a distraction’ for others.
The day after Hamlin’s fall, both the NFL Players Association and the league drew attention to the mental health options available to players.
The NFLPA tweeted: ‘ALL players: please reach out if you need someone to talk to. There are several resources available to you,’ with a link to counseling options on the NFLPA website.
In a memo sent to teams on Tuesday, commissioner Roger Goodell said each club had received information from Dr. Nyaka NiiLampti, the league’s vice president of wellness and clinical services, about mental health and support resources available to players and staff. It added that additional resources can be made available to any team that requests them.
The Bills will practice for the first time since Damar Hamlin’s cardiac arrest on Wednesday
Buffalo is set to face the New England Patriots at 1pm on Sunday in Week 18
The NFL confirmed on Tuesday that the remainder of the pivotal Bills-Bengals game will not be played this week with a decision yet to be made on when the showdown will resume.
However, the league added that no changes were made to the Week 18 schedule, which sees the Bills face the New England Patriots.
The Bills took the first small steps toward normalcy Wednesday as the organization said it will hold meetings and conduct walk-throughs but will not have media availability.
On Wednesday, Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Doug Pederson opened up about the emotional meeting with his players the day after the incident and how he’s focused on supporting them as best he can before their AFC South showdown against the Tennessee Titans Saturday .
Doug Pederson opened up about supporting his Jaguars players after the incident
‘I’ve never seen a situation like this,’ he told Good Morning Football. ‘You know there’s more going on. All kinds have disappeared and life has become the most important thing.
‘Monday night, the coaching disappeared. I was thinking of Damar. Our men will arrive the next day. What do I say? We play for the AFC South. You have to be real. I want the players to know we’re here. I want my boys to talk; to be tomorrow.’
The Jaguars are scheduled to practice Tuesday, the day after Hamlin’s fall, and Pederson has opened up about his discussion with his players.
‘I’ve met with my players’ council and talked about it first to see where they’re at and get a bit of a gauge of the headspace of the football team,’ he added.
‘I was just honest with them. I share from my heart. I went through a situation with my brother a year ago and even though it was different, just seeing the struggle and the mental pain that the players were going through, you saw it Monday night from both teams.
‘How can I support my football team? We provide those resources through the psychologist, through the ministers, through other people even outside the organization to really help these players speak up.
Hamlin is pictured with mother Nina during his childhood playing days – he says he chose to stay close to home when attending college so he could be close to his family
Bills fans attend a candlelight prayer vigil for player Damar Hamlin in Orchard Park, Buffalo, NY
Football fans gather outside the University of Cincinnati Medical Center for Hamlin in Ohio
‘I don’t want our boys to hide any feelings. I want them to talk, I want them to be open because situations like this are quite different.’
Hamlin was immediately rushed to the hospital after being given CPR on the field while surrounded by his terrified teammates, at the end of a big hit in the early stages of Monday night’s NFL game.
He is currently in critical condition with the sports world shocked by his sudden breakdown.
Updates on Hamlin’s condition have been positive in the days since, with his ventilator use reduced from 100 percent to 50 percent on Tuesday.
ESPN spoke with friend and family representative Jordon Rooney outside a Cincinnati hospital on Wednesday, and he revealed the positive news that doctors are happy with the progress he’s made.
He added that there is ‘no clarity at this moment, how long things are going to take, how things are going to go,’ before also clarifying that Hamlin is ‘still stable and in critical condition in the ICU’.
Rooney was also quick to correct the ‘misinformation’ being spread about the number of times Hamlin was revived, with the player’s uncle telling reporters it happened twice, once at the stadium and once at the hospital.
Today it was announced that there was only one resuscitation, on the field in the stadium.