Damar Hamlin Remains in Critical Condition Following Monday Night Football Cardiac Arrest


Damar Hamlin, a Safety for the Buffalo Bills, at a Press Conference Prior to his Cardian ARrest on Monday Night Football.

Hamlin’s Pittsburgh PA., High School Football Coach Interviewed on CNN This Morning.

Damar Hamlin, a safety for the Buffalo Bills who suffered a cardiac arrest on Monday night TV football, remains in critical condition in the ICU of a Ohio hospital according to a report just before noon on CNN television today.  He remains sedated as well to assist in his healing.

Television reports yesterday said that the nearby Niagara Falls, New York lighting has been turned blue in support of the young football player who is hospitalized undergoing treatment for cardiac arrest.  Furthermore, a Go Fund Me site raising funds for toys for children hosted by Hamlin’s Foundation had raised in excess of $6 million.

Hamlin  graduated from  Central  Catholilc High School in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. His high school coach Terry Totten was interviewed this morning on CNN as well.  “He was steady, even keeled and low-keyed,  He was mature beyond his years,” said Coach Totten of  his former football player.  “He’s a real treat to be around.”  Hanlin grew up in McKeesport, just outside of Pittsburgh, a town of almost 20,000 residents.  He graduated from the University of Pittsurgh so he could stay close to home said retired coach Totten.

While much, and rightfully so, has been made of the violence of the game of football, there is another side to the issue. The coal mines of western Pennsylvania where my father and his three older brothers grew up did not produce high paying, and EPA safe jobs for those lacking a college education.  For poor men, both White and Black from western Pennsylvania, the traditional ticket to success was an athletic scholarship to college, maybe even a career as a football coach and maybe under extraordinary circumstances –  a career as a professional football player. So many have been willing to take that risk – that risk the only road out of limited opportunities for many from western Pennsylvania.

My father and two of his older brothers wanted college educations so badly they were able to secure college educations  through football scholarships.  My father went to  Allegheny College, another went to Penn State and the oldest to the University of Pittsburgh – the alma mater of Damar Hamlin.  Those football scholarships, all to Pennsylvania colleges curiously,  took them on the path to better jobs and lives than that of their father – my gentle “grandpa.”

While those days of working in and around coal mines or not at all for some are gone, that tradition of football scholarships for a better way of life should be respected and not discredited by those who don’t know whereof they speak.  All while the world waits impatiently for good news from Damar Hamlin’s doctors.