NFL player Damar Hamlin with the Buffalo Bills collapses during a game on Monday against Cincinnati Bengals after being hit in play.

PORTLAND, Ore. — Buffalo Bills player Damar Hamlin collapsed without bracing himself onto the field during Monday night’s football game against the Cincinnati Bengals and was administrated CPR before being rushed to the hospital.

This terrifying moment left his team, football fans and medical experts questioning what exactly happened. 

“We’re just praying. You know? We’re praying that he pulls through this. And he makes it through this,” said a Cincinnati fan. 

After nine minutes of CPR, they got a pulse back and Hamlin was rushed to the hospital. The Bills later announced that he had gone into cardiac arrest.

“Yeah, I was actually watching the game on tv last night so I saw it in real time,” said Doctor Charles Henrikson, a cardiac electrophysiologist at OHSU.

Henrikson specializes in heart rhythms, and believes Hamlin potentially suffered one of two things. But said it’s not very common to see this happen in American football. 

“Looking at this event one thing that it might have been is something called commotio cordis,” said Doctor Henrikson. “Which is a very funny phenomenon where if you get hit with the right amount of force at the exactly right time in the middle of your chest that can induce this ventricular fibrillation where your heart isn’t beating.”

Henrikson also said it’s pretty rare but is most common in younger people and kids and is usually associated with a small ball hitting the chest — from a baseball or lacrosse ball. 

“There is also a possibility — and without knowing any of his details. You know, kind of statistically — it’s more likely that this is hypertrophic cardiomyopathy which is an abnormality in the wall of the heart, which may or may not have been seen before. Or even a close right nary artery that feeds blood to the heart coming off from the wrong place. Those are the two more likely causes of a rest in a young person,” said Henrikson. 

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