Seldom does a routine first-quarter play in a Monday Night Football game hold the nation spellbound the way the cardiac-arrest incident involving Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin did last week.
As the nation watched it unfold in real time, prayers, well-wishes and positive thoughts flooded news, sports and entertainment outlets. As we moved through the week, the news became progressively better until it culminated in the 25-year-old Hamlin’s release from a Buffalo hospital Wednesday.
The incident got us thinking about tackle football. Although participation numbers are declining, it remains one of the more popular sports among American youth.
Our InMaricopa reader poll question this week was: “In view of recent injuries – notably the on-field cardiac arrest of Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin on Monday Night Football – would you allow you child to play tackle football?”
The votes were split almost evenly between those who would and would not let their child play.
Leading the way was the response, “No. Football is just too dangerous. Soccer is a better choice and it’s growing worldwide,” with 48.5% of the 270 tallies.
Closely behind with 45.6% of the votes was, “Yes. While Hamlin’s injury was critical, it was an anomaly, and the game teaches teamwork, leadership and character that carries over into mainstream life.”
The response, “Maybe. It’s OK at the younger levels, but by college and the pros the athletes are bigger, stronger and faster today, and equipment has not kept up,” lagged far behind at just 5.9%.
The incident resurrected memories of the only NFL player ever to die on the field of play. Chuck Hughes, a wide receiver for the Detroit Lions, passed away of a heart attack on the field on Oct. 24, 1971, in a game against the Chicago Bears in Detroit’s Tiger Stadium.