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Tributes pour in from across the sports world for Damar Hamlin

A vigil is displayed at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center for football player Damar Hamlin of the Buffalo Bills after he collapsed following a tackle during the game against the Cincinnati Bengals and was transported by ambulance to the hospital on Jan. 3, 2023 in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Dylan Buell
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A vigil is displayed at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center for football player Damar Hamlin of the Buffalo Bills after he collapsed following a tackle during the game against the Cincinnati Bengals and was transported by ambulance to the hospital on Jan. 3, 2023 in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Professional football players, NFL teams and athletic figures across all sports expressed their support for Buffalo Bills player Damar Hamlin after he suffered a cardiac arrest during a Monday night game.

Hamlin was listed in critical condition early Tuesday at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center after collapsing following a tackle in a game against the Cincinnati Bengals. After tackling Bengals receiver Tee Higgins, Hamlin stood up and took a step forward before pausing and collapsing backward.

Bills players signaled to the sidelines immediately for help from their training staff. Hamlin was down for some 10 minutes, with medical staff appearing to give Hamlin CPR before he was taken off the field.

Messages of support immediately began pouring in on social media. As of early Tuesday morning, a GoFundMe website that Hamlin started two years ago for a toy drive for children in need received more than 122,000 donations, totaling about $3.1 million, exceeding its $2,500 goal.

Unified voices across football

Several pro football teams sent thoughts and prayers to Hamlin after the tackle, including the Bengals, the Arizona Cardinals, the Seattle Seahawks and the Pittsburgh Steelers.

"Sending our thoughts and prayers to Damar," the Bengals said.

"We send our thoughts and prayers to Damar Hamlin, his family, and the @BuffaloBills," the Steelers said.

Hamlin, 24, is a Pennsylvania native and played football at the University of Pittsburgh. He is in his second year in the NFL.

"Damar Hamlin is the best of us," his alma mater tweeted. "We love you, 3. Praying for you."

In a statement from the NFL, league commissioner Roger Goodell said: "Hamlin received immediate medical attention on the field by team and independent medical staff and local paramedics. He was then transported to a local hospital where he is in critical condition."

"Our thoughts are with Damar and the Buffalo Bills. We will provide more information as it becomes available," the NFL said.

"The NFLPA and everyone in our community is praying for Damar Hamlin," the NFL Players Association said in a statement. "We have been in touch with Bills and Bengals players, and with the NFL. The only thing that matters at this moment is Damar's health and well being."

Sympathy and support from other pro sports

Professional athletes in other sports also hoped for Hamlin's recovery.

"Offering up prayers and strength for Damar Hamlin of the @BuffaloBills," tennis great Billie Jean King said, while urging the game be postponed.

"Praying for you kid!!!" Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James tweeted.

"Oh, I want to say prayers up for the Bills safety," Cleveland Cavaliers basketball player Dononvan Mitchell said during a postgame conference. "I had heard about it, I didn't see it but, you know...we're praying for him, all of us in the locker room...From the Cavaliers organization, we want to wish the best, and praying everything goes well."

Reactions across New York

Politicians across New York state also tweeted surrounding Hamlin's injury.

"Praying for Damar Hamlin," New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said. "Our hearts are with his family, loved ones, and the entire @BuffaloBills community."

"Praying for Damar Hamlin and his family," Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said.

"I'm asking all New Yorkers to join me in praying for Damar Hamlin, his family, his teammates, and our brothers and sisters in Buffalo," New York City Mayor Eric Adams said.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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Ayana Archie
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