Buffalo Bills players surround their teammate Damar Hamlin (3) after he collapsed following a tackle against the Cincinnati Bengals during the first half of Monday Night Football play at Paycor Stadium in Cincinnati. Hamlin is in critical condition, according to the NFL. Photo by John Sommers II/UPI | License Photo
Jan. 2 (UPI) -- Buffalo Bills' safety Damar Hamlin was in critical condition after suffering cardiac arrest following a tackle during the team's Monday Night Football game against the Cincinnati Bengals.
The Buffalo Bills said in an early Tuesday statement that Hamlin's heart stopped after taking a hit early in the game at Cincinnati's Paycor Stadium, but his heartbeat was resorted on the field by responders before he was transferred to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center where he remains under sedation.
Following the hit, the NFL announced the indefinite postponement of the game.
"Tonight's Buffalo Bills-Cincinnati Bengals game has been postponed after Buffalo Bills' Damar Hamlin collapsed, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced," the NFL said in a statement.
"Hamlin received immediate medical attention on the field by the team and independent medical staff and local paramedics. He was then transported to a local hospital where he is in critical condition."
"Our thoughts are with Damar and the Buffalo Bills," the NFL said. "The NFL has been in constant communication with the NFL Players Association, which is in agreement with postponing the game."
The Buffalo safety was injured with less than 6 minutes remaining in the first quarter and Cincinnati leading the game, 7-3. Hamlin tackled Tee Higgins, who had just caught a pass from quarterback Joe Burrow, at about the 50-yard line to end the play.
Following the tackle, Hamlin momentarily stood on his feet before collapsing onto his back. First responders administered CPR to the fallen player who was also given oxygen.
Medical personnel attended Hamlin for more than 10 minutes with players from both teams visibly shocked and concerned surrounding him before he was loaded into an ambulance and transported to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center. Hamlin's family came down from the stands to be with him in the ambulance.
After Hamlin was taken away, Bills players knelt together in a circle before returning to the sideline. Bills coach Sean McDermott and Bengals coach Zac Taylor met with game officials who decided to pause the game about 21 minutes after the injury.
The NFL announced a full postponement at about 10 p.m. EST. The league has not said when the game would be made up or resumed.
Hamlin, who is 24, is in his second NFL season with the Bills and was playing his 16th game of the season. He played 14 games in his rookie season last year, mostly on special teams.
"The thoughts and prayers of all of Bills Mafia are supporting you, Damar," the Bills said in a tweet from its official account.
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul also tweeted her support.
"Praying for Damar Hamlin," the governor wrote. "Our hearts are with his family, loved ones and the entire Buffalo Bills community."
Cincinnati Mayor Aftab Pureval tweeted that the entire city "is sending all our prayers to Damar Hamlin right now."
"Our hearts are with you, your family and your friends," he said.