Shawne Merriman, a former Buffalo Bills linebacker who rose to NFL stardom with the San Diego Chargers, shed light on the impact Damar Hamlin’s medical emergency will have on players.
The Bills said Hamlin went into cardiac arrest and needed to have his heartbeat restarted on the field before being rushed to the hospital. The game between the Bills and the Cincinnati Bengals has been postponed with no make-up date yet announced.
Merriman appeared on “TMZ Sports” and discussed the effect the incident would have on the players. Both the Bills and Bengals players were excited on the field to see medical personnel tending to Hamlin in real time.
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“It’s going to be playing in the minds of a lot of them. It was a wake-up call for a lot of people about the possibilities of how violent this game could be,” Merriman said on the show. “I think soccer is the best sport in the world, but we also understand that there is a big risk in that.”
Merriman added that the incident could change fans’ minds that soccer players are not gladiators or immortal superheroes, they are human beings.
“I think he also brought a human side. A lot of these players are really seen as superhuman. This is a human on the ground who could possibly be fighting for his life.”
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Merriman was a three-time Pro Bowler and Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2005. He led the league in sacks in 2006 with 17. He played six seasons with the Chargers and two with the Bills from 2005 to 2012.
Dorian Glenn, Hamlin’s uncle, told NFL Network that the Bills player remained in intensive care but has improved to 50% oxygen on a ventilator; he had previously been 100%.
Right now, they put him on a ventilator, so they’re trying to get him to breathe on his own,” Glenn told the network. “So, we are taking it day by day. Still in ICU. They’ve sedated him, so continue to administer the medical treatment that you’ve been doing.”
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Glenn added: “Once I get out of ICU, I’ll feel better.”