top of page

Damar Hamlin- It’s Just A Game … or Is It?



In case you do not follow American Football, Damar Hamlin is a player for the Buffalo Bills. A week ago he made a tackle, stood up, and then collapsed and went into cardiac arrest on the field. His real life-or-death drama was played out on national television. He had to be given CPR and resuscitated with and AED (automated external defibrillator) before an ambulance rushed him to the hospital, where he had to be defibrillated again. He was in critical condition and needed help breathing. He is still in the hospital but doing much better and talking.

Many critics of sports have complained that games are taken far too seriously. After all, “it’s just a game”. Even many athletes have taken the position that, as much as they love their sport, it’s just a game, and many things in life are far more important.

There are those who have said that too much has been made of this one incident and that it’s only gotten the high level of publicity because it is a professional sport. They bring up that many others have been in life-or-death situations or have died, but we never hear about it. That is a true statement. But Damar Hamlin’s situation is different. It played out on the world stage for all to see. It is much bigger than sports or just one man. Consider this poem by John Dunne (1572-1631) almost 400 years ago.

`No man is an island`
No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of they friends’ or of thine own were. Any man`s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind. And therefore, never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.

We are all mortal, and Damar Hamlin’s situation reminded us how fragile life can be, that it can vanish in an instant. For good or bad, for noble reasons or for evil, we are all ultimately part of each other’s lives. Like a giant hanging human mobile, we are all connected. When one-part moves, we all move, even if it’s ever so slightly.

This may have started out being just a game, but it quickly morphed into something much larger and of much more significance.

Imagine a world in which we all cared about each other that much all the time.

Tikkun Olam- heal the world. Leave it a better place when you leave.

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page