Chuck Hughes’ terrible death in 1971 serves as a sad reminder of the perilous nature of football and the fragility of life. During a game against the Chicago Bears, the Detroit Lions receiver died after a deadly heart attack and slumped on the field. Fast-forward nearly 50 years, and the NFL has recently gone through a comparable terrifying experience. Damar Hamlin, a safety for the Buffalo Bills, fell to the ground on Monday night after being tackled. He received CPR from sports trainers on the field before being transported to a hospital in Cincinnati. He was listed in critical condition early on Tuesday. The Ohio sports betting market went live on Jan 1, so this news was quite a shock for Ohioans as they celebrated the newly launched sportsbooks.
Hughes and Hamlin’s injuries occurred under quite different circumstances. Hughes had a heart problem and passed away on the field, while Hamlin experienced cardiac arrest after being hit. Hughes’ passing was tragic, but it was also a rare occurrence. Hughes is the only player to have passed away on the field in the 102-year history of the NFL.
Damar Hamlins injury
Hamlin’s injury, meanwhile, was uncannily similar to that of Darryl Stingley, a former New England Patriots receiver. Stingley was paralyzed from the neck down in 1978 after being hit by Oakland Raiders safety Jack Tatum. Tatum didn’t receive a penalty call during the play, and after the injury, Stingley and Tatum never spoke again. Thankfully, Hamlin’s injury is not as serious as Stingley’s. Still, it reminds us of the NFL players’ frailty and the possible risks involved in the game.
Following the injuries to Hughes and Hamlin, the NFL has taken action to guarantee player safety. For example, the league has established regulations that restrict player contact, such as the defenseless player rule, and has made use of technology to improve coaches’ and officials’ understanding of the game. The NFL has also ensured that players receive the right instruction and tools to lower the risk of injury.
What the NFL accomplished in terms of safety
Since Hughes passed away in 1971, the NFL has advanced significantly. The deaths of Hughes and Hamlin, though, are a tragic reminder of the precarious nature of football and the transience of life. Hughes’ passing was tragic, but it was also a first in the history of the NFL. The NFL was able to move swiftly and safeguard its players’ safety in Hamlin’s situation. We can only hope that the league keeps working to safeguard its players’ security and avert future catastrophes.