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NFL Referees Association backs decision to suspend Bills-Bengals game as Damar Hamlin remains hospitalized

Damar Hamlin’s sudden collapse during the first quarter of Monday night’s game between the Buffalo Bills and the Cincinnati Bengals has stunned the NFL world. 

Players from both teams gathered around Hamlin as CPR was administered to the second-year pro before an ambulance rushed him to the hospital.

The Bills announced that Hamlin suffered a cardiac arrest following a tackle on Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins. 


“Damar Hamlin suffered a cardiac arrest following a hit in our game versus the Bengals,” the Bills said in a statement. “His heartbeat was restored on the field and he was transferred to the UC Medical Center for further testing and treatment. He is currently sedated and listed in critical condition.”

The game was initially temporarily suspended before it was officially postponed. 

On Tuesday, the NFL Referees Association (NFLRA) released a statement siding with the decision to postpone the game. 

Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen, #17, reacts as medical personnel attend to Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin.

“On behalf of the NFL officials working the Buffalo Bills vs Cincinnati Bengals game last night we offer our thoughts and prayers for a speedy recovery for Damar Hamlin,” the NFLRA said in a statement. “Additionally, we commend the emergency staff and doctors who quickly responded on the field to Damar’s serious health issue. 

“Like the players and coaches, our officials fully supported the suspension of this game as all attention needed to be focused on Damar’s health.” 

Hamlin’s family released a message Tuesday morning thanking his supporters for their prayers. 

Buffalo Bills players and staff kneel together in solidarity after Damar Hamlin sustained an injury during the first quarter of an NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals on Jan. 2, 2023 in Cincinnati.

“On behalf of our family, we want to express our sincere gratitude for the love and support shown to Damar during this challenging time. We are deeply moved by the prayers, kind words, and donations from fans around the country,” the statement read.

“We also want to acknowledge the dedicated first responders and healthcare professionals at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center who have provided exceptional care to Damar. We feel so blessed to be a part of the Buffalo Bills organization and to have their support. We also want to thank Coach Taylor and the Bengals for everything they’ve done.” 

Hamlin was selected by the Bills in the sixth round of the 2021 NFL Draft, recording 91 tackles and 1.5 sacks in 16 games this season. 

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