This is from our former Disaster Relief volunteer and instructor…Thanks Tom…
It was the first Monday Night Football game of 2023. The Cincinnati Bengals, on top of the AFC North Division, were the home team against the Buffalo Bills, leaders in the AFC East. The Bengals scored a touchdown on their first possession; the Bills then kicked a field goal. At 5:58 in the first quarter, Cincinnati wide receiver, Tee Higgins, caught a pass and was promptly tackled by Buffalo’s safety, Damar Hamlin. Hamlin stood up after the tackle, but then collapsed a few seconds later.
Within 10 seconds after his collapse, Bill’s athletic trainers were treating Hamlin. Five minutes later an ambulance appeared on the field. For several minutes the trainers and paramedics were performing CPR. Resuscitation was successful, and 16 minutes after his collapse, Hamlin was loaded into the ambulance and taken to a nearby medical center.
The crowd in the stadium was stunned into silence. Distraught coaches and players from both teams gathered on the field. Many of them were praying. One ESPN commentator, former NFL defensive tackle Booger McFarland, spoke from his heart. He said in his 9 years of playing in the NFL, you expect broken bones, concussions, and other serious injuries, but no one is prepared for a life-threatening injury on the field. The thoughts of both teams were no longer on the game, but on their team mate, and the best anyone could do would be to pray for Hamlin’s recovery.
Kathie and I prayed in front of our TV. We watched the ambulance depart. The game, of course, was postponed indefinitely. It was eerie to watch the fans leave, seemingly quiet and reserved. The next day, news reports filled some of the gaps1. Damar Hamlin had apparently suffered a serious cardiac arrhythmia following blunt trauma to his chest. CPR restored his normal heart beat, but he was still in critical condition in the ICU.
Years ago, I read medical articles about blunt-force trauma that can be fatal in auto accidents, where the chest strikes a steering wheel and cardiac tissues are ruptured. But cases were also reported among young athletes who had no obvious physical damage to the heart. A few studies demonstrated a hard hit to the heart can induce an electrical abnormality which, in lay terms, stops the heart. This is what may have happened to Hamlin.
Damar Hamlin is a healthy, well-conditioned, 24-year-old. He has been able to play sports for most of his young life. Then, in an instant, everything changes. What should have been a routine tackle left him unresponsive. The frightening reality of what happened on the football field can likewise occur in our everyday lives.
Risky activities, like combat or DUI, can prematurely end our lives. But most of the time we get out of bed in the morning and think we will have a routine day. We don’t expect to die while driving to work or when we are in a classroom. Yet all of us, at some level, admit we will eventually die regardless of age, social status, education, or wealth (Psalm 49:10; Ecclesiastes 2:16; 3:2). With few exceptions, we don’t know the day or the hour (Ecclesiastes 8:8; 9:11-12). Living wills and estate plans exist to manage earthly matters after we die. Preparations also must be made for how and where we will spend eternity after life on earth is over.
Those who believe they will simply go out of existence when they die are in for a big surprise. The Bible tells us everyone, great and small, will be judged before the throne of God (Revelation 20:12). If your name is entered into the Book of Life, you will live for eternity in paradise (aka heaven). All others will experience eternal torment in a lake of fire (aka hell). Professing faith in Jesus Christ, and what He has done for us (Romans 5:6-8), guarantees our name is written in the Book of Life.
Creedence Clearwater Revival’s song Bad Moon Rising may not be scriptural, but it states the solution to the frightening reality of death: I hear hurricanes a-blowin’, I know the end is coming soon … Hope you got your things together, Hope you are quite prepared to die.
Are you quite prepared right now?