TEMPLE, Texas — Monday night during the Bills vs. Cincinnati game, was a moment many football fans have never witnessed before. It brought to light the risks of playing any contact sport.
"Anytime you have a contact sport like football, things can happen," Shane Anderson, Midway head football coach, said. "You pray and hope that it never does, but if it does you just have to be thankful that we have things in place."
After Damar Hamlin collapsed on the field following a tackle, his teammates surrounded him and emotion was seen throughout the entire stadium.
For some, this injury brought back past experiences.
"It kind of hit home with me. In 2019, my wife went into cardiac arrest," Anderson said.
Midway head coach, Shane Anderson, was sitting in his living room watching the Buffalo-Cincinnati game, and as Hamlin collapsed, his heart sank.
"We were at the regional basketball tournament in Huntsville when I was the Athletic Director at Connally. We were walking up to the stadium and she collapsed. They had an AED and then they shocked her in the ambulance multiple times .. For me to see that last night i mean, you talk PTSD, it hit home."
For Temple head coach, Scott Stewart, all he could think about was that one day at practice six years ago.
"We had a very similar situation. We had a kid's heart stop when we were doing offseason drills one time. And there were no team docs. We had a student go get the AD, get the trainer and one call 911. I started CPR and then sent a coach to the road to get the ambulance as it got there," Scott Stewart, Temple head football coach, said. "Many told us that one of the only reasons that kid survived that day is because of the quick actions."
According to the UIL, Texas coaches are required to be CPR certified. For these two coaches, that saved a life.
"Luckily I was CPR certified. You never think you are going to use it. You never think you need to use it," Anderson said. "But then it's your wife laying on the ground and you respond and you react pretty quick and it all just comes to fruition."
Monday night was more than football. It was a son, friend and teammate whose dream game turned into a nightmare.
"Watching those people react last night it took me back 6 years ago," Stewart said. "I watched kids just do what their told. Because of the pre-planning and stuff that nobody really wants to do. People don't want to think about it and some coaches convince themselves they're too busy to do that. I promise you when a kid goes down like that, you want a plan in place."
Our prayers and thoughts go out to Damar Hamlin and his family during this difficult time.
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