Players Call For Prayers After Bills Safety Damar Hamlin Suffers An On-Field Cardiac Arrest

By Leocciano Callao
On January 2, 2023, after safety Damar Hamlin suffered a cardiac arrest on-field, Buffalo Bills coaches and players gather in prayer at Paycor Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo via social / Buffalo Bills) 

As a Buffalo Bills player suffered a cardiac arrest Monday on the football field, many of his teammates and NFL players at Paycor Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio — some of the toughest men on the planet — broke into a prayer meeting and tears on live television.

The expression of emotion, spiritual care and request for prayer rippled across Twitter and other platforms, igniting debate and intrigue.

It was during the first quarter of a Monday Night Football game between the Cincinnati Bengals and the visiting Buffalo Bills. Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins was running with the ball at full speed when his right shoulder met the chest of Bills safety Damar Hamlin. It was a successful tackle, and though the collision looked painful, it’s a typical sight in the NFL.

Hamlin returned to his feet and fixed his helmet with his right hand. Seconds later, Higgins rose from the ground, and Hamlin collapsed backward on the field and into unconsciousness.

The game was temporarily suspended with nearly six minutes left to play in the quarter. The broadcast team at ESPN described it to the national audience as an opportunity for “both teams, coaches, personnel to go back to the locker room and regroup themselves.”

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Meanwhile, the 24-year-old Hamlin lay on the turf as medical staff administered CPR.

Minutes later, an ambulance drove into the field and took Hamlin to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center. The athletes that a lot of people see as titans were in tears. Players from both teams consoled each other, not knowing what fate would befall Hamlin.

damar hamlin
Bills player Damar Hamlin, who plays safety, was drafted by Buffalo in 2021. (Photo courtesy of the Buffalo Bills)

As the ambulance drove off, the Bills players, coaches and staff kneeled to form a prayer circle on national television.

Players, both past and present, took to Twitter and called on fans to pray.

Former New England Patriots tight end Benjamin Watson, who is also a Christian author, tweeted a message from the Hamlin family, adding his own call to prayer.  

Bills fans even held a vigil on Tuesday to pray for Hamlin’s recovery.

The NFL decided to postpone the game. Not everybody was pleased with the league’s decision. Given that it’s the penultimate week of the NFL regular season, the stakes are high as teams fight to solidify playoff positions.

The Bills, who are on top of the AFC East, have clinched their spot in the postseason. Meanwhile, the Bengals, who lead the AFC North, have secured a wildcard position.

As a result, Fox Sports analyst Skip Bayless made his feelings known on Twitter — and the backlash was almost immediate. Athletes and the general public have called for Bayless to be fired. Despite the negative side of the coin, prayers flooded and the sports world united behind Hamlin.

Bayless tried to make amends with another tweet, saying he “prayed for” Hamlin.

Hamlin spent his college career at the University of Pittsburgh. He also attended Pittsburgh Catholic High School before joining the Panthers and eventually the Bills. Hamlin is known to be a man of the community.

Hamlin’s family friend and marketing representative, Jordon Rooney, told CNN that the Bills player is “more than an athlete.”

Outside of football, Hamlin runs an annual toy drive for local children. Hamlin started this project in Pittsburgh and extended it to Buffalo after signing with the Bills.

“He’s in the NFL because he wants to be a role model,” Rooney added. “Part of what drives Damar is to be an example for the other young people in his community.”

Hamlin’s toy drive has received over $1 million in donations since Monday’s incident.

Hamlin remained in an induced coma on Tuesday.

“He has a strong family. He has the ideal support system. They’re optimistic,” Rooney said. “Damar is someone that you would trust and believe to come out on top of anything that he is faced with.”


This story was originally published by Religion Unplugged.

Leocciano Callao is a freelance journalist who studied media, culture and the arts at Providence Christian College in Pasadena, California.



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26 thoughts on “Players Call For Prayers After Bills Safety Damar Hamlin Suffers An On-Field Cardiac Arrest”

  1. Rabindranath Ramcharan

    I don’t follow football, but it’s nice to see these guys kneeling on the field for something other than their own personal grievances against the country .

    1. And yet you felt compelled to needlessly drag politics into the conversation anyway. Maybe think for a second next time before you post.

  2. Let’s stop beating around the bush here and denying reality:

    The vaccine is killing people. I recently found out a young friend in her early 30’s died in her sleep, no explanation given. My father in law suffered a heart attack despite being in good health. My mother had a serious injury in her arms after getting this vax. Stop attacking us who refuse to get the vaccine and face reality. It is killing people and we need to speak the truth.

    1. Alex:

      You get to give your views but that does mean your views are facts. You gave two instances-how do you build your case from two very unfortunate situations. Would I be correct in that you are a trump supporter?

  3. As a football fan, I was watching this live and horrified to see Hamlin’s collapse. I continue to pray for him and his loved ones (I cannot imagine how they were feeling). I also donated to his charity (which has seen donations flood in) in solidarity with those who know Damar and what truly matters to him.
    I was encouraged to see the players, coaches, league, fans – and the world that was watching – unite behind one cause: to see Damar Hamilton recover.

    Ravi and Alex – this is not about politics, grievances or vaccines. This isn’t even about football. This is about Damar Hamlin. This has been a reminder that behind all the fame, fortune, and athleticism – and behind differing races, beliefs, views and politics – we are all human.
    Please let this be a time of prayer, not “I finally agree”, “I told you so!” statements or speculations on the cause (that conveniently support our views). Let’s set examples as Christians, not reinforce tribalism.

    1. Rabindranath Ramcharan

      I’m not sure who this “Ravi” person is, but there is room in this conversation for more than one reaction to the facts on first impression. I see this incident as being about a guy who got hurt at work, and I think that relating the previous bad behavior of his co-workers to their improved conduct is both reasonable and noteworthy. Your objection is noted, and I stand by my comment.

      1. I do apologize for my autocorrect misspelling your name. And yes, you are entitled to your reaction.
        I just wonder if you’d appreciate a similar reaction if your son or brother was fighting for their lives and fellow Christians were reacting with more political stances and personal debates than prayers and support. After all, we are to treat others as we’d like to be treated, right?
        There is a time and place for debate and discussion, and IMO, less than 24 hours after a person ended up in ICU isn’t it.

  4. “ Nearly half of Americans think COVID-19 vaccines may be to blame for many unexplained deaths, and more than a quarter say someone they know could be among the victims.

    The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that (49%) of American Adults believe it is likely that side effects of COVID-19 vaccines have caused a significant number of unexplained deaths, including 28% who think it’s Very Likely. Thirty-seven percent (37%) don’t say a significant number of deaths have been caused by vaccine side effects, including 17% who believe it’s Not At All Likely. Another 14% are not sure.”

    Ed Dowd’s figures show 7,500 injected Americans per day disabled or killed from the “vaccine”.

    Easy to find both articles. Educate yourself!!

      1. Eric, Taking 5 seconds in attempts to educate yourself in that manner is counterproductive on many fronts.

        Here’s a big one for starters:

        Please take the time to spend more effort than submitting to a site like Reuters as an authority regarding what Dowd is basing his stats on. Don’t fall for letting the fox guard the henhouse.

        1. Kenly,

          Dismissing an argument because of it’s source is a fallacy of reasoning known as the genetic fallacy. The relevant question is not who made the argument but whether or not it is sound. I read the article Eric linked to and it quoted more than one person in critique of Dowd’s claims. It also explained the source and content of some of the data he appeals to and why it doesn’t support his claims.

          1. Gordon,

            Knowing you dismissed those of us on this site who warned about the experimental injections when they started a couple years ago, I refuse to argue with you about how many conflicts of interests/commitments, and how many lies discredit a morally bankrupt organization like Reuters from being referenced as an authoritative source.

            But, I will ask you how many victims would a pastor have to abuse or cover up to get you to passionately advocate for an investigation from the authorities? Probably just one?

            How many injected adults and children have to die or be injured before you passionately advocate for an investigation into their “vaccine”/injection status?

            Did you know 3 Massachusetts police officers (ages 25,42,48) from the same district who mandated the injection just “died suddenly” this past week? Would that be enough?

            Or how about 1000+ injected athletes…most of them young who suffered cardiac arrests and died?


            I love Jesus and the truth, and I will expose evil and abuse regardless of the personal cost to my reputation.

  5. And just like that, this thread is about the vaccine and not Damar Hamlin.
    I pray we as believers realize Damar and his family needs more of our prayers and less debating over our stances on vaccines.
    Sigh. Lord, help us.

    1. Marin, I have DEEPLY appreciated your comments here, from the very first one I read.

      Amen and AMEN to this one!!! Thank you!

      Mr. Hamlin wasn’t offering to be the face on anyone’s placard du jour.

      He had already chosen a purpose to sponsor for himself – to model compassion and to inspire the young people in his community.

      I think we should honour his choice.

      Especially here.

      I join you in your prayers for both him and his family.

      1. Thanks, Kay. I also encourage us to pray for Tee Higgins, the Cincinnati player who last tackled Damar before his collapse. Tee has felt so guilty he has not left the hospital where Damar is being treated; meanwhile Tee has been horribly trolled online. I pray Tee knows this was not his fault. He was playing the game by the rules, and a tragic accident occurred.

    2. Mt 6:5-6

      5 And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

      6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.

      1. Mr. Thomas, your comment has absolutely no context and as such it is deeply troubling.

        Are you condemning the players who fell to the ground “in a prayer meeting and tears” after Mr. Hamlin’s cardiac arrest – and calling them hypocrites?

        1. I am not speaking of the players praying on the field. I find all of the “look at what I am doing” mentality of Christians deeply troubling”, asking for prayers is one thing. To publicly bring the focus on yourself praying, and then patting each other on the back, is another.

  6. Mr. Thomas, placing the comments that motivated you to voice a public objection – and then the rationale for your objection ( which includes imputing motives) into the context of the rest of the comments on this article …

    How curious that you feel you have the moral high ground.

    I think you missed the point entirely.

    I have no urgent need to convince you of the error of your ways. Please feel free to hold your own opinion.

    1. “I have no urgent need to convince you of the error of your ways.”

      And yet you commented, attempting to do that very thing.

  7. Claims that the vaccine caused the incident are objective lies. It provides further proof that all the religious views spread by the same people are also a bunch of lies. Christians will believe anything that fits their bigotry and show that Christianity is void of truth.

    1. Tim Olsen, evidently you haven’t been following a couple lawsuits since the “pandemic” started in 2020.

      1) “ In January of 2021, Brooke Jackson, working with Ventavia, a subcontractor of Pfizer filed a lawsuit against Pfizer for violation of the Federal False Claims Act, which is a federal statute originally enacted in 1863, in response to defense contractor fraud during the American Civil War.

      Ms Jackson’s claim in the lawsuit is that she witnessed Pfizer defraud the US Government. This defrauding occurred through lack of oversight in the making and distribution of vaccines. The lack of coherent clinical trials – or any clinical trials, for that matter – was particularly alarming to her. She assumed the US government would want to know the company they were funding was failing every clinical trial, every safety regulation and disregarding standard procedure for the transparency, safety and efficacy of a COVID vaccine about to be distributed to 100 million Americans and the global population.

      Pfizer countered Ms Brook’s lawsuit by stating in their Motion to Dismiss that they could not be defrauding the US government, because the US government was already fully aware that there were no clinical trials or no safety protocols in the making of the COVID-19 injectable…”

      2) Dr. Shiva’s lawsuit against Twitter. Scroll down and look at the chart that shows how the Feds are colluding with companies and social media platforms to censor and silence the truth, and propagandize.

  8. As an avid, lifelong fan of the Buffalo Bills, I so appreciate this article/post. The relationship between Bills Mafia fanbase and the Buffalo Bills organization is special. It’s hard to imagine the level of hurt and emotion Bills Fans and residents of the Western NY community have felt over the past 12 months. The Tops grocery store mass murder, the storms that have killed so many, the death of #88 Dawson Knox’ brother, and the near death of a teammate on the field. These players and other staff are part of the community for sure. So from one Western New York resident thanks for bringing attention to what God just might be doing to change the narrative around prayer in this country. There are a lot of people talking about prayer in the last 8 days. And so many are seeing God answer.

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