Has the NFL become unsafe?

Hamlin stayed in the ICU for nine days after his injury against the Bengals.

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Hamlin stayed in the ICU for nine days after his injury against the Bengals.

Jamison Joyce, Staff Writer

During the Bills vs Bengals Monday Night Football game on Jan. 2023, the Bills safety, Damar Hamlin, passed out mid game and went under cardiac arrest after taking a hit to the chest. The on field paramedics tried to resuscitate Hamlin with CPR for 10 minutes. He was instantly rushed to the hospital where he would remain in the ICU for several days unconscious and in critical condition. The game was postponed and later canceled by National Football League (NFL) commissioner Roger Goodell. 

Thankfully, Hamlin was able to make a full recovery and has since been discharged from the ICU, but it does raise the question: has football become too dangerous to be played safely? Furthermore, should there be more rules and regulations in place to mitigate these situations?

Earlier in the season, Miami Dolphins quarterback, Tua Tagovailoa, suffered a severe concussion and had to leave the field on a stretcher. This was not his first concussion of the season, and many fans felt that something should have been done to prevent it from happening. Many fans felt he should not have been medically cleared to play in the first place.

On top of these two instances, there has been some concerning studies on a brain disease that is linked to repeated and frequent trauma to the head known as Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE). This disease has been found in many former football players that have competed even at the highschool level. This condition comes with alarming symptoms such as impaired judgment, aggression, depression, suicidality, Parkinson’s and, eventually, progressive dementia. This condition is clearly an issue that needs to be addressed amongst the football community. The players especially should know the dangers of this disease. 

Overall, an all out ban of football and an end to the NFL is likely unnecessary. However, the risk of severe injury in the sport cannot be ignored. It is the responsibility of organizations like the NFL, the NCAA and school athletic coordinators to find ways to make the game safer for the sake of the players. Athletes should not have to go through what Hamlin and Tagovailoa have experienced. The safety of every player should be top priority for the NFL

Contact Jamison Joyce at [email protected]