Buffalo Bills offensive tackle Dion Dawkins recalled the moment he realized something was “really, really wrong” after teammate Damar Hamlin collapsed on the field against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Hamlin remains in hospital and in critical condition after suffering cardiac arrest during Monday’s game. His uncle, Dorrian Glenn, told CNN that Hamlin was still sedated after being resuscitated twice — in the field and then in hospital.
The game was then postponed with players from both teams visibly distraught.
“You look around and you see the medical staff doing their job, and you know when it’s something minor like somebody’s down, but they’re sitting down, the guys are moving along at a good pace,” Dawkins told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on Tuesday. .
“But when things like that happen, they wave really fast and call the guys on the ground and call the elite medical staff – that’s when you really realize something is really, really wrong.
“It was one of the first experiences for me where something like this happened in this way, where it silenced a whole stadium that was boiling half a room earlier.”
Live updates: NFL star Damar Hamlin in critical condition after cardiac arrest
According to Glenn, Hamlin is on a ventilator to relieve some of the pressure on his lungs, which were damaged as a result of the cardiac arrest. He said his nephew’s condition is “positively improving” while he is being treated in hospital.
For Dawkins, who is in his sixth season with the Bills, the gravity of the situation immediately made him turn to prayer.
“Whether you’re a believer or not, only a higher power can truly take control of what’s to come,” he said.
“Our people who have helped have also helped this higher power. But at that time you just have to be vulnerable and let the prayer come up and work its magic.
On Tuesday, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said the game between the Bills and the Bengals would not resume this week, adding that no decision had been made on when it could be played.
“I’m really lucky we didn’t have to keep playing,” Dawkins said.
“The fact that we haven’t had to go back to that pitch and play just shows that there is care, and that’s all we can ask for is that we are treated like people,” he added.
“Most people just treat us like athletes, like superstars, and some people like celebrities, but then they [the NFL] treated us like people. And to be treated like a cared for person is a wonderful feeling.
“I’m grateful to have been treated like a person, just like the rest of my teammates, because at the end of the day, we are people. And we have feelings, we have emotions, we cry, we hurt. And we have families, and they’re hurting, and they’re crying.