Jennifer Lyon

Wednesday, January 4th, 2023
My New Heroes

Monday evening, Wizard had turned off the football game to do some paperwork. I don’t generally watch football, but on my phone, I stumbled onto the news that a player had gone down on the field and they were administering CPR. I ran into the office to tell Wizard and the two of us followed the coverage for the rest of the evening and Tuesday until I’m writing this in the early afternoon. At this point on Tuesday, Damar Hamlin is in the ICU in critical condition. He’s 24 years old and I’m praying his youth and physical conditioning works in his favor. This whole thing is so tragic, and from what we (Wizard and I) understand, caused by a rare set of circumstances. Truly tragic, and I hope for the best outcome while being painfully aware he may be fighting a very uphill battle.

But what I am today, is proud of what I saw on the field. All the players shed their competitive skins to protect their colleague while he, and the team of medical personal, fought for his life. They surrounded him with a wall of love and protection. Those players know very well how intrusive cameras are when you’re on that field. They sign up for it in the game, but not while suffering a critical injuries. I am so proud of each of them. It was a moment when I saw right through their game bravado to their souls. It’s not a moment I’ll forget.

Yeah, I know they didn’t run into a burning building like the hero’s of 911, but they are still true heroes in my book. Our actions in a crises, no matter if it’s saving a life or taking a knee to protect someone’s dignity when they can’t do it for themselves — they all matter. They all make us better humans.

This whole thing touched me deeply and I’m not a “football fan.” So for all of you who are fans, I know it probably affected you even more. Be proud of your sport, they took a knee for their downed colleague not out of monetary gain, or attention-seeking grandstanding, but because it was the right thing to do.

I can’t honestly say I didn’t think I’d be here one day saying that two teams of football players are my heroes, but today, that’s exactly what I’m saying.

6 comments to “My New Heroes”

  1. Silver James
    January 4th, 2023 at 10:04 am · Link

    Gives a whole new meaning to that whole “taking a knee” thing in the NFL. I happened to be watching, peripherally. I saw the tackle but didn’t see him go down. My attention refocused as the medical personnel swarmed the field. The looks of the faces of both teams was heartwrenching. And no one–not the players, not the front office, not the fan (who can often be negatively vocal) have said a peep about the postponent of this pivotal (to play-off standings) game. I’m proud of them for that.

    And then the outpouring of caring–Damar has a small foundation that raises money for Pittsburgh Toys for Tots (so I heard in one story, another said he raised money for local kids in his hometown of Pittsburgh). There’s an Instragram video of him at the party handing out toys. On Monday, there was a few thousand dollars in his GoFundMe page. As of the last amount I heard, that has sweeled to 4.5 MILLION dollars. I’m blinking away tears just typing this.

    He’s a good kid. Does the right things. Is starting to make his mark in the pros. And yes, it was a one-in-a-million thing that happened. Blunt trauma to the chest and heart in between beats causing a servere arrhythmia–or interruption in the heartbeat. The technical term, and while it hasn’t been confirmed by the doctors directly involved, a whole host of sports medicine and cardiac specialists all say this appears to be the case. It’s called commotio cordis, which happens when the chest and heart take a blow at the precise moment the heart is in between beats.

    It’s sad. I’m praying he recovers and that blood flow to the brain was reinitiated in time to prevent injury there. And apparently, his lungs are also involved somehow.

    Anyway, yeah, everyone involved is my hero today too.

    Hope you’re getting some of that rain out your way but not so much that it’s on the scary side.

  2. Silver James
    January 4th, 2023 at 10:21 am · Link

    Correction on the GoFundMe page, and an update. Damar was originally asking for donations to total $2,500. The latest update is that 175,000+ people have donated over $5 million now, including big-name players and teams. I still think that is cool that they are honoring him like this. WHEN he wakes up, he’ll be amazed and I’ll be cheering him on.

  3. Viki S.
    January 4th, 2023 at 3:55 pm · Link

    It does give one hope when you see everyone come together like they did Monday night. I knew the BILLS would act the way they did because they REALLY are a family. They are all very close to one another and the fans love them SO much.

    Seeing all the players really being stand up guys and protect Damar while on the field being treated (true heroes) shows how much respect and caring they have for each other.

    The BENGAL fans base was great too. They were the first to show up at the hospital with candlelight prayer. From what I see, it’s continuing on.

    I hope you are okay with all the rain you’re supposed to get. It’s been raining here all day. We need it and since it’s not snow it’s easier to drive in 😉.

    Have a great afternoon!

  4. Jenn
    January 4th, 2023 at 5:50 pm · Link

    Silver, yes it does on taking a knee. When people do things I don’t agree with, I generally (not always, LOL) ignore it because drawing attention to it just gives the needy person more power. But this was so amazing in the face of such a terrifying moment. I loved that we were able to see the strong humanity and compassion on camera.

    I saw all the heart docs saying that too, but didn’t mention it because we still don’t know for sure. There are several things that could contribute to a rare sudden cardiac arrest, including the a possible underlying health condition that had not been caught. Especially in very healthy athletes who’s bodies compensate so well that it’s harder to detect. However commotio cordis does make the most sense to me as a lay person. If it is, it sure did take a rare confluence of events to happen.

    I thought I saw on my phone at lunch that the Go Fund Me was up to 6 mil, but I could be wrong. In any case, what a super positive way to honor him and a cause he really cares about. I love that!

    I’m hearing that there’s been some positive signs in Damar’s condition today. I hope that’s true.

    Today the rain here has been light and we’ve run a bunch of errands with not problems. But we’re expecting much more tonight and tomorrow. We’ll probably be okay down here in my area, but Northern CA is in a mess, and I’m hoping everyone will be okay.

    Wizard is fretting that if we keep getting rain we might get superbloom of poppies again :-)

  5. Jenn
    January 4th, 2023 at 6:01 pm · Link

    Viki, it really was great to see. I’ve always believed we see that truest version of a person in challenging and frightening times like that. I was deeply impressed.

    I’m glad you’re getting rain rather than snow. I was close to a head on collision when a guy in the opposite lane of a 2 lane road suddenly pulled into my lane to pass a semi. I was so shocked that for an instant, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. I recover fast and slammed on my brakes. It was so close, but I managed to stop fast enough for the idiot (I edited what I really called him) got around the truck. Thankfully there was no one behind me on that road. My only choice was going to be to drive into the mud filled ditch on the side of the road. I was going about 50 miles an hour which is the speed limit there. It was sooo close. The point of all that is too many people here can’t drive in the rain. But this guy was the king of the idiots.

    The bigger rains are coming tonight and tomorrow, and up North of us is really getting hammered. I worry about them. Hope you guys don’t get too much rain!

  6. Viki S.
    January 5th, 2023 at 3:12 pm · Link

    OMG! Jenn, you must have been so scared. I’ve had that happen but with snow. I am so glad you’re okay. But you are so right. Some people cannot drive in bad weather and should not be on the road AT ALL.

    Stay safe and dry.

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