How ESPN handled the broadcast during Damar Hamlin’s horrific injury
After Bills safety Damar Hamlin was horribly injured, ESPN had to make a quick adjustment. 24-year-old Bills safety Hamlin passed out on the field after making a tackle on Bengals wideout Tee Higgins in the first quarter. On the field, medical personnel performed CPR on Hamlin before rushing him to the hospital. After the injury, the game was put on hold for a while and eventually postponed until later that night. According to the Bills, Hamlin has been diagnosed with heart arrest and is in a severe condition.
Many commercial breaks were interrupted by ESPN commentators Joe Buck and Troy Aikman’s sad discussion of the events unfolding on the field, as players from both teams were kneeling in prayer and trying to hold back tears. Sideline reporter Lisa Salters let the crowd know that CPR had been administered to Hamlin. In the end, ESPN decided to switch from the game broadcasters to Suzy Kolber, Adam Schefter, and Booger McFarland in the studio.
“The emotion that we’re experiencing tonight is really hard to describe,” Kolber said. “We cannot and will not speculate.” “What we do know is that he needed CPR and that in itself is terrifying.”
A former player for nine years and current NFL pundit for almost a decade, McFarland remarked, “It’s something like we’ve never seen before.” I have never participated in or even heard of this. Though you don’t want to sound like a broken record, all you can do right now is pray for this young man. When you start CPR, hopefully, they hear you.
ESPN doing a really good job covering the now suspended Bills vs Bengals game. Buck, Aikman, and Salters all with the right tone.— Awful Announcing (@awfulannouncing) January 3, 2023
Studio folks helping out with Booger showing the emotion most viewers are feeling. pic.twitter.com/ttt5NC0cjk
“I’m sure he has family out there; hopefully the Bills and the doctors are communicating with the family.” I can only imagine what my family would be thinking. They’d want updates on what’s going on, just to make sure in real time. That’s somebody’s son; that’s somebody’s brother; that’s somebody’s father. They want to know what’s going on.
According to ESPN’s reporting, Hamlin’s mother accompanied him to the hospital, and his family was in attendance at the game in Cincinnati.