It's Sam's Turn: Sports world unites around Damar Hamlin

The following is an opinion column written by an Echo Press editorial staff member. It does not necessarily reflect the views of the Echo Press.

Sam Stuve

To be honest with you all, I had no idea who Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin was until he suffered cardiac arrest during a football game against the Cincinnati Bengals on Jan. 2, 2023.

But the more I got to learn about him since then, the more I’ve come to realize how much of a good person he is and how much love he’s spread in his nearly 25 years of life.

Obviously, I don’t know him closely or anything like that, but this is the opinion I’ve formed from researching him and what he’s done.

In finding out more about him, I found his GoFundMe fundraiser, The Chasing M’s Foundation Community Toy Drive . The fundraiser says that the proceeds from it go toward buying toys for kids in need. The fundraiser was started in 2020, as Hamlin was about to graduate from Pittsburgh University and enter the 2021 NFL Draft.

The fundraiser began with the goal of raising $2,500.


As I’m writing this piece, people have donated $8,753,040 to the fundraiser.

This was one of many ways in which the sports community and really just people, in general, rallied around the McKees Rock, Pennsylvania, native.

My words will most certainly not describe the seriousness of this situation in a perfect way. Instead, I encourage you all to find videos on the internet of Ryan Clark, Scott Van Pelt, Booger McFarland and others who really did a great job of grasping this situation and handling it in a very empathetic manner. There’s not a manual on how to handle those kinds of things in the media and it's a hard thing to do.

This was personally the scariest thing I can remember watching on television in my 23 years of life.

For those of you who may not know the latest update, Hamlin was sedated and on a ventilator once arriving at the University of Cincinnati Hospital that night and was in critical condition. But with the hard work of the UC hospital staff, along with the Buffalo Bills training staff (who administered CPR to him on the field in Cincinnati) and every single medical person involved in this – and with some help from up above, I’m sure – Hamlin’s condition improved. He awoke on Jan. 5 and started communicating with doctors and others. He was discharged on Monday, Jan. 9 and was released to Buffalo General Hospital.

At the time of this writing, he’s in stable condition and undergoing further tests.

With all that said, I would like to say thank you to all the nurses, doctors, athletic trainers, or really any first responders or anyone in the medical field for what they do. I can’t imagine how stressful their jobs are, and I’m sure it’s 10 times more stressful and difficult than we could imagine. But they're essential and they’re superheroes.

I would also like to add that we should continue to keep Damar, along with his family, friends, loved ones, and any people who are going through a similar situation, in our hearts, thoughts, and prayers.


And lastly, tell the people you care about that you love them. Remind them of that every day through your words and actions.

“It’s Our Turn” is a weekly column that rotates among members of the Echo Press editorial staff.

Sam Stuve covers a variety of sports in the Douglas County area. He also is assigned to do some news stories as well.
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