COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – Messages of support for Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin are coming from all across the country Tuesday, including support from here in central Ohio.
Hamlin collapsed after making a tackle in Monday night’s game against the Bengals in Cincinnati.
Two local high school football coaches, first and foremost, are hoping and praying the 24-year-old Hamlin ends up being OK. Both said what happened shows why safety training and having the right medical staff on hand are so important.
Cheers and excitement turned to concern inside Paycor Stadium in Cincinnati Monday night.
“It was a little eerie,” said Brad Burchfield, head football coach at Bishop Hartley. “I think you knew something was not right and something was wrong and the longer it goes, you know how important it was and how severe it probably could be.”
Burchfield was at Monday’s game and said Hamlin’s collapse shows why coaches and medical professionals train for as many situations as possible.
“What goes through your head is you’ve been prepared for anything to happen and by the grace of God, you certainly don’t want tragedy to ever befall on your watch,” he said. “But you want to make sure you’re prepared, you know what to do, and you have really prepared people around you as well.”
Hamlin collapsed after making a tackle, and millions watched on television as he was surrounded by teammates while he received CPR.
“Please God, let this kid be OK because that could be your kid next, could be your child, could be your player, it could be someone you love,” said George W. Yates II, football coach at South High School. “It was someone they love.”
Yates was one of those watching the game on television. His team will be weight training as part of its winter program, and the Hamlin situation will likely be discussed.
“Sometimes you do need to audibly say, ‘This is a time to pause,’” Yates said. “This is a time to say, ‘Hey, this game is fun and it’s exciting and it’s tough and it builds our character,’ but every now and then, you got to pause and say, ‘Hey we’re human beings,’ and this kid’s 24 years old and he’s a human being before he puts on a football helmet.”
Yates said he has already talked to one parent who asked him about football and safety.