Bills’ Hamlin collapses; medical events that stopped play

Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin was critically injured in the first quarter of a game against the Cincinnati Bengals Monday night.

Hamlin fell moments after being involved in tackling Cincinnati receiver Tee Higgins. Hamlin stood up, seemed to adjust his face mask with his right hand, then fell backwards about two seconds later. His arms hit the ground sideways.

Rescue workers treated him in the field before he was taken to a hospital by ambulance. The game was postponed, then suspended.

A list of some in-game or in-competition medical events that have either suspended or postponed the competitions in which they occurred:


The scene in Cincinnati was somewhat reminiscent of what Danish footballer Christian Eriksen went through when his team played at the European Championship in June 2021. He collapsed in the 43rd minute of a game against Finland, doctors later revealed how incredibly close he was to death.

Several paramedics worked feverishly to give Eriksen chest compressions while his team-mates choked back tears and formed a circle around the midfielder to shield the scene from the public. A defibrillator was needed to restart his heart.

This game eventually resumed after a delay of about 90 minutes. Eriksen recovered and played at the World Cup that took place late last year.


On December 12, 2020, Johnson played for Florida in a game against rival Florida State. He scored in an alley-oop dunk at 16:18 in the first half for an 11:3 lead. The Seminoles called a time-out and Johnson went to the Florida Huddle with his teammates. Returning to court, he walked towards the midfield strip and collapsed face first.

His teammates were asked twice if they wanted to continue the game and decided to do so. The game was delayed, but only briefly.

He spent two days at a hospital in Tallahassee, then eight more at a hospital in Gainesville, Fla., where the Gators’ campus is located. The Southeastern Conference preseason player of the year bounced back but never played again for Florida — except for a celebratory start 15 months later. He has since moved to the state of Kansas and resumed his playing career.


Bouwmeester played for the St. Louis Blues on February 11, 2020 and went into cardiac arrest on the bench in the first half of the game against the Anaheim Ducks.

Sports coaches from both teams responded immediately and Bouwmeester was eventually given an implantable defibrillator to regulate his heart rhythm. He no longer played in the NHL.

The game has been postponed.

Jiri Fischer

It was the first half of a Detroit game against Nashville on November 21, 2005. Fischer sagged while sitting on the Red Wings bench, and coach Mike Babcock began angrily waving for help.

Fischer had a seizure, fell forward, and was quickly administered CPR. His heart had stopped and medical staff couldn’t find a pulse, Babcock said, before emergency workers shocked his heart and got it beating again.

The game was postponed and eventually postponed. Fischer never played again.


On March 4, 1990, during Loyola Marymount’s West Coast Conference college basketball tournament game against Portland, Hank Gathers – one of the nation’s top scorers – collapsed and died.

Less than three months earlier, Gathers had collapsed during another game and subsequent tests revealed he had arrhythmia, an irregular heartbeat. He was put on medication and the dosage was eventually lowered.

He collapsed near midfield after a dunk in tournament play. Attempts to revive him in court, in an ambulance and at a nearby hospital failed, and he was pronounced dead about two hours later.

Chuck Hughes

On October 24, 1971, Detroit Lions’ Chuck Hughes suffered a heart attack late in the fourth quarter of an NFL game against the Chicago Bears.

He was officially pronounced dead about 50 minutes after the game, with an autopsy showing the heart attack was caused by a massive blockage in his left coronary artery.

But doctors later said he was essentially dead on the field – and the defender closest to him when he collapsed, Bears star Dick Butkus, immediately began waving for help as Hughes fell onto the turf and took on the gravity was clearly aware of the situation.

The game was delayed – reports vary on how long the delay was – and the final 62 seconds finally played out.


Masterton died on January 15, 1968, two days after sustaining a serious head injury while playing for the Minnesota North Stars against the Oakland Seals. His death was believed to be the only one caused by an on-ice incident in NHL history.

Play was suspended while doctors worked on Masterton, and resumed later that night.

He never regained consciousness and died from a severe brain injury. Most players of this era in the NHL, including Masterton, did not wear helmets.


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