Buffalo Bills tackle Dion Dawkins shared a powerful message as he and his teammates continue to pray for the safety of Damar Hamlin, who went into cardiac arrest Monday night against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Dawkins was not on the field at the time of the injury, as the Bills had just scored. But he quickly joined the rest of his teammates in trying to process what he had just seen happen after Hamlin tackled Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins, only to get up and collapse on the grass.
Medical personnel from each team rushed onto the field and had to restore Hamlin’s heartbeat before an ambulance entered the field and took him away.
The pain on the faces of the Bills players throughout this process showed all viewers that it really is more than just a game. These athletes are also human, and that’s what Dawkins wanted to remind everyone on Tuesday night.
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«We are human. We are not athletes, we are not superstars, we are not celebrities, we are nothing. We are human right now,» he said via ESPN. «We are vulnerable humans. Our brother is fighting and we have taken off all that armor and we are just being human.»
Dawkins admitted that he and his teammates are «learning to deal with this situation together,» as no one could have prepared them for what happened to Hamlin.
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«This is not a situation that the average person will go through,» he said.
But Dawkins also hopes what fans saw will come as a «shock» and show why he’s on TV saying athletes are human too.
«By entertaining the entire world, we are putting our bodies and our minds, our careers on the line on every play,» he explained. «With something like this happening, not only was his career on the line because everyone is fighting for their best reputation, now you also have someone fighting for their life. This should really shock everyone rushing to Twitter.» and that’s quick to say anything mean about any athlete like, ‘Oh, he missed that layup,’ or ‘He dropped that pass,’ or ‘He lost that ball,’ or ‘He missed that block.’ We are all human and we try to do our best in everything we can.»
Dawkins is this year’s Walter Payton of the Year nominee for the Bills, who said «his big personality is matched only in size by his heart for our community.»
Buffalo is a community full of strong people who have already shown great love and support for Hamlin and the Bills.
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The latest update on Pitt’s product came from his uncle, Dorrian Glenn, who told NFL Network that Hamlin remains in critical condition but has improved to 50% oxygen needed on his ventilator instead of 100%.
«They’re trying to get him to breathe on his own,» Glenn said Tuesday night.
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«Once I get out of ICU, I’ll feel better.»