South football players reflect on Damar Hamlin’s freak injury

In light of Damar Hamlin’s life threatening injury, conversations have been sparked among the football community regarding various injury protocols. Our football program at South has had various injuries over recent years, including two season-ending torn ACL’s, an ankle injury this year and a concussion the previous season.

It is interesting to see how Hamlin’s injury affected our high school football program, specifically players who have experienced what it’s like to have a serious injury from football.

Whether the NFL is taking proper safety precautions is a main concern surrounding the Hamlin incident. Whether the NFL is taking proper safety precautions is the main concern surrounding the Hamlin incident. He was tackled, but was stable enough to get back up, where he then fell almost immediately and went into cardiac arrest. Being struck that hard by another player can cause serious situations putting them in critical condition. Junior D’Andre Black, expressed the need for injury protocol in football. “I think this not only because of the [Hamlin] injury, but with someone like Tua… they let him back [too soon] and he got even worse brain damage because of it.” ,Black said.

Black tore his ACL, ending his football season early. While he felt lucky his injury wasn’t life threatening, he still sympathizes and connects with the Hamlin scare. “Even if it doesn’t look that bad, it can be even worse. Trainers and professionals need to expect the worst and take extreme precaution when it comes to football injuries to assure the players health.”, Black says.

Junior Gavin Adams, and Senior Zach David share a different perspective on the protocol dilemma. Adams said, “It scared me a little bit, but his injury was such a rare one. It was just very unlikely and has never happened before, so I am not too frightened by it.” Adams had multiple ligaments torn in his ankle causing months of rehab. He felt he was taken care of properly by our school’s training protocols, but said he “understands the pressure [of the NFL] to get players back as soon as possible which could create dangerous situations.” 

David agreed with Adam’s thoughts, “[The NFL] does a pretty good job with their injury protocol. In this case [Hamlin] they did a really good job by ending the game and taking him off the field, but in some cases the trainers have let people go back too soon because it is what may benefit the team.” 

David had to complete a series of memory and balance tests before he was allowed to practice. It’s also required by the school to do a pre screening for concussions, however players have claimed they haven’t had to do that yet after years of playing. 

Junior Ben Morrison felt a little shaken up after learning about Hamlin’s hit. “The accident was pretty freakish, but still knowing something that serious could even happen definitely made me reconsider playing football.” Morrison, like Black, suffered from a torn ACL but at the end of the season. His injury was a little more serious than usual, being out for nine months. “Each injury is different of course, but mine consisted of early mornings and lots of physical therapy,” Morrison said. He felt lucky however that his injury was at the very end of the season, being able to play with his teammates. 

While Hamlin’s hit created a scary perspective on football, instances like this happen all the time, like with Tua Tagovailoa, quarterback of the Miami Dolphins. After a hard hit on the field, where his head was slammed into the ground, he was escorted off the field immediately. Fans could tell this wasn’t a minor concussion. He was miraculously back on the field in just three weeks. Mistakes were made in the process of bringing him back to play, which created serious problems. The recovery process wasn’t strict enough or full proof, putting Tagovailoa’s life at risk.