TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – On Wednesday afternoon, Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Todd Bowles addressed the media following the horrific scene that occurred during Monday night’s game between the Buffalo Bills and Cincinnati Bengals.
During the first quarter, Bills’ safety Damar Hamlin collapsed on the field after tackling Bengals’ wide receiver Tee Higgins. Hamlin needed CPR and an AED before he was escorted off the field in an ambulance and taken to UC Medical Center where he remains in critical condition.
The Buffalo Bills later confirmed that Hamlin suffered a cardiac arrest. Although his family said his condition is improving, the moment Hamlin went down will live in the minds of all that were watching – including Bowles.
“I think it rattles you as a person, not just a player,” Bowles said. “A coach, a parent, a friend…just looking at the TV rattles you. As a fan in the stands…it rattles you as a person. It doesn’t just rattle you as a player.”
“Monday night, you know, something like that hadn’t happened before, that was different.” Bowles continued. “It was heartbreaking and it still is.”
“I have two kids that play football coming up, you know, you think about that part of it, and having played myself, we chose to play this game. It helps you appreciate the little things that you think you have going on in your life when you see something like that happen, so my heart just goes out to the family and I hope he gets better,” Bowles said.
Following Hamlin’s’ critical injury, fans and NFL players flooded his foundation with donations. The GoFundMe had an initial goal of $2,500; as of Wednesday afternoon, the total sits above $6.5 million.
Bucs’ quarterback Tom Brady contributed $10,000 to the cause.
While fans, NFL players, and teams around the country eagerly wait for updates on the 24-year-old’s condition, the family said they are “deeply moved by the prayers, kind words, and donations from fans around the county.”
Anyone wanting to donate to Hamlin’s foundation can do so by following this link.