The next 12 to 24 hours are critical for Damar Hamlin’s recovery, the doctor says

Buffalo Bills defensive end Shaq Lawson (90) reacts to Damar Hamlin’s injury during the first quarter against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paycor Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio, on January 2. (Joseph Maiorana/USA TODAY Sports/Reuters)

Kelsey Conway, a reporter who covers the Bengals for the Cincinnati Enquirer, said the scene on the field was “horrifying” after Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin collapsed Monday night.

“It seemed to be very bad when they weren’t moving,” Conway told CNN’s John Berman early Tuesday, referring to medical personnel who were attending to Hamlin.

Conway said based on games she has covered, medical personnel try to move players off the field as quickly as possible. But that wasn’t the case with Hamlin as responders struggled to get him into the ambulance.

“It was just a really tragic, horrifying scene,” Conway said.

As she sat in the stadium’s press box, she could not determine what was happening to Hamlin as medical staff rushed to provide aid.

“It was really unclear what exactly was going on. We knew it had something to do with the heart,” Conway said, adding that visiting Bills players and their head coach were in tears.
“You knew something tragic happened, but you just didn’t know,” she said.

Later, the Bills said Hamlin suffered cardiac arrest and remained in critical condition early Tuesday. Hamlin fell on his back Monday night just moments after standing up from an open field tackle on Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins.

Conway said the NFL’s Emergency Action Plan was activated in response to Hamlin’s collapse. The plan included an ambulance, a nearby highest Level 1 trauma center and airway traffic control, she said.

“They never want things like this to happen, but they are prepared for situations like this. And they were able to get him to better care as quickly as they could,” Conway said. “He had a police escort take him in the ambulance. So, he got there pretty quickly.”


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