“‘I think working like hell on the helmets, the concussion protocols, that makes a lot of sense.’ ”
That was President Joe Biden discussing the safety of football players in light of Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin going into cardiac arrest during Monday’s Bengals-Bills game.
Hamlin, 24, collapsed on the field during the nationally televised game, and was given medical treatment for nearly 20 minutes before being taken to a hospital. The Bills gave an update on his condition Wednesday, tweeting a statement reporting Hamlin has shown “signs of improvement,” but he remains in critical condition in the intensive care unit.
Hamlin’s injury has lead to renewed questioning of the overall safety of professional football, and Biden was asked about the matter on Wednesday. The president acknowledged that while there are risks to playing football, he doesn’t believe that it’s too dangerous to take the field, period.
When asked if pro football was becoming too dangerous for people to play, Biden responded, “no.”
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“Look, the idea that you’re going to have — you’ve got guys that are 6’8, 340 pounds, running a 4.8 40, you know, if you hit somebody — and that’s not what happened here, but I just think it’s — I don’t know how you avoid it,” Biden said.
But he suggested that improved safety measures should be explored by the NFL, such as updating helmets and revisiting concussion protocols. “But it’s, you know, it’s dangerous. We’ve got to just acknowledge it,” he said.
Biden also said that he spoke with Hamlin’s parents after his injury.
“We hope his condition and his health improves quickly, and like the rest of the nation, our thoughts and prayers are with him, his family and his teammates,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said on behalf of Biden earlier this week.
Hamlin’s 2020 GoFundMe campaign, aimed to raise money for a holiday toy drive in his hometown of McKees Rocks, Pa. with a modest goal of $2,500, has since raised $7 million from 200,000 contributors wishing to support the injured player.
A link to Hamlin’s campaign can be found below.