You can’t learn to take a hit


Courtesy of FOX 5 Atlanta

Evan Capozella, Sports Editor

   The National Football League (NFL) was always considered dangerous but no one thought it was life-threatening. With the Damar Hamlin incident on January 2, 2023, critics are considering if the physical toll in football is too extreme.  

   The Buffalo Bills and the Cincinnati Bengals game started out normal, but when Hamlin took a hit to the chest, it escalated into a medical emergency. Hamlin stood up after tackling a Bengal wide receiver and immediately collapsed. While there is not an exact explanation for what happened to Hamlin, doctors assume that it was Commotio Cordis

  According to, Hamlin’s injury is a rare occurrence when a person suffers a hit to the chest at the 20 milliseconds that the heart is resetting for the next beat. Hamlin is expected to make a full recovery but it is unknown if he will be cleared to play professional football again. 

  Others players such as Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa have suffered multiple concussions just during the 2022-2023 football season. According to, Tagovailoa has suffered a concussion playing against the Green Bay Packers, Cincinnati Bengals, and an unconfirmed one against the Buffalo Bills. Tagovailoa could have brain damage from any hit he takes if he does not let his brain fully heal before playing. 

   Multiple hits to the head over time can cause Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE). Over the last twenty years, CTE has gained more attention when more cases were being reported. According to,  CTE has caused NFL players to have depression, memory loss, and in some cases, suicidal thoughts. Tragically, players such as Aaron Hernadez and Andre Waters who were diagnosed with CTE have died by suicide. 

    Hits over time affect the body in negative ways, but all players know the risks of the NFL and know that they can get hurt. According to, efforts are being made to decrease the physical toll of professional football, but the dangers will not be fully removed.