Bears players share their thoughts, emotions on Damar Hamlin’s cardiac arrest


LAKE FOREST – It’s always difficult for one player in the National Football League to see another suffer a major injury, and that was the case on Monday night for those athletes watching the Bills-Bengals game.

But it was more personal for Nathan Peterman, who was a teammate in college at Pittsburgh with Damar Hamlin, who suffered cardiac arrest after a tackle in the first quarter at Paycor Stadium in Cincinnati.

“I just talked to him two weeks ago when we played him after the game,” said the Bears’ quarterback when asked about Hamlin, who was a freshman in college when Peterman was a senior.”It was extremely sobering, crazy to see. I just really felt for him, felt for everybody that was involved, and praying for him a bunch, just constantly thinking about him, praying for him, praying for his family and going to keep hoping he pulls through.”

Peterman was one of a few members of the Bears to discuss their feelings on Hamlin and what they saw on Monday night in Cincinnati. The second-year member of the Bills remains in critical condition in the intensive care unit at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, per an update from the Bills Wednesday afternoon.

“It was a very scary moment near and dear to my heart just because I’m a player and an athlete as well,” said running back David Montgomery. “I just got into instant prayer for him and his family.”

Center Sam Mustipher had similar feelings, thinking of his own career and past injuries as athletic trainers and medical personnel worked to save Hamlin’s life on the field Monday evening.

“There’s a young man who’s 24 years old, two years younger than me, in the hospital fighting for his life. That’s different. We go out there with this idea that we play a violent game, we play a violent sport,” said Mustipher. “I’ve played through multiple injuries, I’ve been one of the people who had the facemask ripped off their helmet and then strapped to a board.

“I think (Former player and ESPN analyst) Ryan Clark said it – you’re just looking for that ‘Thumb’s Up’ and there was no ‘Thumb’s Up’, and that’s scary. To be reminded of the game that we play, the finality of life – when I strap up I’m not thinking about that. It’s tough, it’s tough to see.

“My thoughts and prayers got out to him and his family.”

Now Mustipher and the rest of the players balance their emotions & concern for Hamlin while also preparing for their season finale against the Vikings at Soldier Field on Sunday. For Montgomery, it’s another reminder of the human element of the game of football, and how those in the league come together in times of crisis.

“It’s way bigger than the game. A lot of people don’t get that we’re humans as well, and when that stuff happens, we’ve all got emotions, we all get emotional, and that’s being professional football players,” said Montgomery. “Sometimes, I think, personally speaking for myself, we like to kinda be that tough guy, act like things don’t phase us.

“Yeah, it was an emotional moment, and being able to see the Bills and the Bengals come together, not as a single team, but they come together and love on each other, because it was very emotional.

“It shows that this league full of players is powerful and we love each other.”

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