Dickinson County cardiologist explains rare injury sustained by Bills safety Damar Hamlin

Hamlin suddenly collapsed after making a tackle in Monday Night’s football game against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Published: Jan. 5, 2023 at 6:53 PM EST
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IRON MOUNTAIN, Mich. (WLUC) - The Buffalo Bills announced safety Damar Hamlin has made “remarkable improvement in the last 24 hours.” On Thursday, TV6 spoke to a cardiologist at Marshfield Medical Center Dickinson about the injury.

Doctor Clayton Shaker said an injury like the one Hamlin suffered can be extremely rare, especially to a healthy 24-year-old. The cardiologist said athletes are screened for heart abnormalities, but a perfectly timed blow to the chest could cause cardiac arrest.

Shaker notes that the immediate work by medical staff on the field gave Hamlin a fighting chance.

“At the initial impact, he went into a cardiac arrhythmia that does not allow for effective blood flow to the brain,” Shaker said. “We are all okay with it for a second or two, until then we are not. That episode of him falling is a result of that cardiac arrhythmia not being able to deliver enough oxygen to the brain.”

The cardiologist said this explains why Hamlin was able to stand up and walk immediately after the hit before collapsing. Shaker emphasizes medical staff in Cincinnati are doing everything they can for Hamlin, and he prays for a strong recovery.