After the Buffalo Bills’ 24-year-old Damar Hamlin suffered an on-field cardiac arrest, due to a tackle to his chest, some fans have started calling on the league to update their armor and uniform rules.
Hamlin’s life was in danger when Cincinnati Bengals receiver Tee Higgins collided with him and was in need of immediate medical assistance.
Hamlin’s cardiac arrest may lead to the removal of armor from NFL uniforms
Right now, he’s making a recovery at the hospital; his physician reported that his ventilator usage has dropped to 50% this Tuesday.
— Taylor Bisciotti (@TaylorBisciotti) January 5, 2023
However, this doesn’t say much about the safety of the sport and how much of that safety is taken away by the rigid padding that the players wear.
Experts believe Hamlin’s injury was one in 200 million; it’s fairly inconsistent to warrant a rule change, but the fans aren’t eager to see another one of their favorite players collapse on the field.
One Twitter user suggested the rules be updated in a way that allows players only to use as much protection as the players in the English counterpart of the sport do.
In English rugby, the players don’t wear any armor, which is offset by the fact they employ different tackling strategies and rules.
He added the armor worn in the NFL is precisely why the sport is riddled with career-ending injuries, as the armor allows the players to use it as a weapon at times.
The fact that the NFL gave teams 5 minutes to resume play after administering CPR on the field to Damar Hamlin tells you everything you need to know about their concern for player safety.
— Lauren Tolmachoff (@glendalelauren) January 3, 2023
Less padding would result in safer collisions?
The discussion continued, with another user explaining Hamlin’s injury was because the running back purposely used his rigid shoulder plates to tackle him.
What followed was an infrequent injury that Hamlin suffered purely due to the hard material making contact with his chest and causing his heart to stop.
As it turns out, the NCAA did previously attempt to introduce rugby-adjacent tackle into the game, as it would reduce the amount of necessary padding under every player’s uniform.
Unfortunately, this didn’t amount to much; football remained the same bloody sport that many believe doesn’t have a future if injuries like this keep on happening.
Based on a variety of reports, the @NFL did not make the decision to suspend the Bengals-Bills game. Rather, players/captains and coaches from both teams, who had witnessed Bills safety Damar Hamlin getting CPR for 8 minutes, said they would not continue the game. #NFL
— David Shuster (@DavidShuster) January 3, 2023
Some have recommended completely removing the padding, whereas others proposed the shell be more lightweight and protective against impact, rather than being hard and bulky, which is where the real issue lies.
Despite all the damage he’s done to their son, Damar’s family doesn’t hold anything against Higgins; they’ve urged the public to stop going after him.
The runningback reached out to Damar’s family almost immediately after the injury happened and he offered them his support through this tough time.
A soft-shell guardian cap will be making its first appearance this summer as the NFL begins its training camps for the season.