Millions of people watched the horrific scene in real time on Monday night. Damar Hamlin, a 24-year-old safety for the Buffalo Bills, collapsed and went into cardiac arrest after appearing as a regular tackle in a nationally televised NFL game against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Hamlin’s medical emergency, the specifics of which have not been fully made public, may be a rare and unfortunate occurrence. But in a sport where high-speed collisions are a feature, not a bug, there is a risk of serious injury every time the football breaks. And yet the games go on. Today’s newsletter will explain why there remains an inherent danger in a sport that is ingrained in American culture.
In 15 years of covering the NFL, I’ve stood on the sidelines for many a game. Taking a closer look, I never realized how hard the hits were. As a simple matter of physics, the combination of size and speed of professional football players means that the force of their collision can be similar to that of a world-class sprinter running into a brick wall.
the nfl has trumpeted his efforts To make the game safer, especially over the past decade. It has made changes to the rules that discourage dangerous on-field tactics such as leading with the head, established a protocol for diagnosis and treatment, and has about 30 medical professionals at games to respond to injuries or emergencies. Station. However, the extent of these measures shows how the dangers of sport can only be reduced, not eliminated.
Ed Hochuli, a longtime NFL referee who has officiated hundreds of games, spoke out After retiring in 2018, he spoke about what he saw on the field. At every game, he said, “a half-dozen times” when he worried: “Oh my God, how’s that guy going to get off the field? He’s dead.
The NFL often seems mired in turmoil, yet attuned to it. In recent years, it has faced allegations of racial discrimination by black coaches, allegations of workplace misconduct at a major franchise, and more than 300 former players posthumously diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy caused by repeated blows to the head. associated with doing. Yet the league is on track to meet commissioner Roger Goodell’s goal of earning $25 billion in annual revenue by 2027.
Also this week, as the NFL faces one of its worst crises in decades, it is also preparing for its next slate of games this weekend, which are moving ahead of schedule. Players and coaches have a job to do. The business of the NFL depends on it.
The simple fact of where Hamlin fell is a reminder of how quickly we move on from shocking violence in America’s most popular sports league. Three months earlier on the same field, Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa was carried off on a stretcher after his head hit the turf. He missed the next two games with a concussion. A few days ago, he had another head injury. Then, on Christmas Day in a game against the Green Bay Packers, he suffered another brain injury.
Nearly five years earlier on the same field, Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier suffered a spinal injury while making a tackle that not only ended his career, but also forced him to learn to walk again. Unlike the Monday night game, he continued after a delay.
popularity of football
What happens in the NFL is amplified more than almost any other American cultural institution. Hamlin’s medical emergency was front page news. She originally set up a GoFundMe page for the holiday toy drive serving her hometown near Pittsburgh, which has received more than 200,000 donations since Monday, raising nearly $7 million. President Biden, who said yesterday that he had spoken to Hamlin’s parents, was asked whether he thought the NFL had become too dangerous. He said no.
Despite the live horror of Hamlin’s collapse, the NFL’s staying power doesn’t seem to be in question. The league’s media partners collectively pay about $12 billion a season to show the games because they bring in such large audiences.
We tune in because we know we might be witnessing a rare athletic feat, an arc of redemption, or an oddball comeback. However, it is equally possible that a player will be seriously injured. From time to time, as on Monday night, we are reminded of that uncomfortable dichotomy. And then, the NFL machine turns on — and counts on the audience to go with it.
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Farewell to ‘Stomp’
Since its arrival in the East Village in 1994, the “stomp”, a wordless percussion spectacle of twirls, pats, sweeps and bangs, has been a mainstay of New York culture. After nearly three decades, production is shutting down for good.
The “Stomp” was a natural fit in the East Village of the 1990s, where it coexisted with Blue Man Group and rock clubs like CBGB and Brownie. But even though it became a phenomenon — with appearances in the Olympics, a mockumentary on “The Simpsons” and performances in 45 countries — it never left its neighborhood.
“I’m a little sad,” said Steve McNicholas, the show’s co-creator. “We were part of the village landscape, and it’s a shame to say goodbye to it.”
for more information: Readers and Times critics share their memories of the show.
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