(NewsNation) — Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin was in critical condition early Tuesday after the Bills say he suffered a cardiac arrest on the field during the first quarter of Monday night’s football game against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Hamlin’s severe injury has brought to mind previous life-threatening NFL injuries. Here are some of the most notable injuries in NFL history:
August 12, 1978: New England Patriots wide receiver Darryl Stingley was paralyzed after a hard hit against the Oakland Raiders, ending his career.
Stingley has begun his sixth season with the team when Oakland Raiders’ safety Jack Tatum crashed into him — in what was called an “intentionally violent hit” by The New York Times — as he reached for a pass during a preseason game, KIRO reported.
The hit left him paralyzed from the neck down after it broke two vertebrae in his neck and severely damaged his spinal cord, The New York Times said. However, extensive therapy helped him regain some control over his hands and arms.
“I have relived that moment over and over again. I was 26 years old at the time and I remember thinking, ‘What’s going to happen to me? If I live, what am I going to be like?’ And then there were all those whys, whys, whys,” Stingley told the Associated Press in a 1998 interview.
According to multiple reports, Stingley and Tatum never met or talked about the incident or injury, nor did Tatum ever apologize for the hit.
October 22, 1989: San Francisco 49ers safety Jeff Fuller suffered a career-ending spinal injury after a helmet-to-helmet hit against the New England Patriots.
Fuller was also in his sixth season with the team when he was partially paralyzed after colliding with New England Patriots John Stephens, SFGate reported.
The collision fractured three vertebrae and tore nerves near his shoulder and neck, affecting his right shoulder, arm and elbow, the report stated.
“The most significant part of this injury is the possible pulling apart of nerve endings connecting the neck to the right arm,” San Francisco team physician Michael Dillingham told the Washington Post. “It’s possible he may not recover full use of his right arm.”
The SFGate reported that Fuller was never able to regain full use of his right shoulder, arm, elbow, wrist and hand.
November 17, 1991: Detroit Lions offensive lineman Mike Utley was paralyzed during a game against the Los Angeles Rams, ultimately ending his career.
Utley lost the use of his legs after “an otherwise routine blocking play” when a Rams player ended up on top of him, WDIV reported.
But Utley told WDIV, 30 years after the incident, that he has no regrets and that he would do everything all over again.
The report said Utley stretches out his body three times a week and is standing.
November 29, 1992: New York Jets defensive end Dennis Byrd broke his neck and was temporarily paralyzed during a game against the Kansas City Chiefs. His injuries ended his career.
He slammed head-first into his teammate Scott Mersereau’s chest, causing extensive damage to his neck and spinal cord, ESPN reported.
His fifth vertebrae shattered into hundreds of pieces, Sports Illustrated reported.
Byrd never fully recovered from his injury but was able to walk again — returning to the Jets’ opening game the next season as an honorary captain, the report said.
Byrd died in 2016 after a head-on vehicle collision near his home in Oklahoma, ESPN reported.
December 21, 1997: Detroit linebacker Reggie Brown suffered a serious spinal cord injury during the Lions’ regular-season finale against the New York Jets.
The 23-year-old lost complete control of his body and was left paralyzed, unconscious and near death, The Detroit News reported.
According to that report, when he dove to tackle Jets running back Adrian Murrell, the crown of Brown’s helmet crashed into the back of Lamont Burns, falling to the ground. Brown was in his second year and had started all 16 games.
The Washington Post reported that Brown stopped breathing on the field and experienced numbness in his extremities.
August 1, 2001: Minnesota Vikings player Korey Stringer died of exertional heat stroke during training camp.
At 27 years old, Stringer succumbed to complications from exertional heat stroke, ESPN reported. At the time, it was a condition that sports medicine largely ignored, the report said.
The day before his death, Stringer and five other players suffered from heat illness due to a combination of high temperatures and humidity, the report said.
While Stringer lost his life that day, his death changed influenced the NFL to make changes to their policy and the Korey Stringer Institute was founded in 2010 to provide research ad education on how to maximize performance but optimize safety for athletes, ESPN reported.
September 9, 2007: Buffalo Bills tight end Kevin Everett was temporarily paralyzed after a hit during the second-half kickoff in a Monday night game against the Denver Broncos, ultimately ending his career.
Evertt suffered a spinal cord injury and was paralyzed from the next down, Memorial Hermann Health System reported.
The team physician at the time, Dr. Andrew Cappuccino, said that Everett suffered from a fractured dislocation between his third and fourth vertebrae, the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle reported.
The surgery was successful in realigning his spine, but it was uncertain if he would ever walk again. He eventually regained his ability to walk after months of aggressive therapies.
December 18, 2011: Chicago Bears wide receiver Johnny Knox took a devastating hit in a game against the Seattle Seahawks, ending his career.
Knox suffered a horrific back injury after being hit by defensive end Anthony Hargrove at full speed during a scramble to the loose ball, a report from Pro Football History.
The hit folded Knox’s spine backward and severely damaged his nerves, the report said.
Knox pushed himself into rehabilitation, a report from the NFL said. The report also said that the only time he is not in pain is when he lying down.
Hargrove apologized to Knox for the incident, the Chicago Tribune reported.
December 12, 2017: Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier suffered a spinal contusion that left him temporarily paralyzed during a Monday night game against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Shazier collapsed on the field and underwent stabilization surgery two days after his injury, People reported.
It took Shazier months to walk again.
He officially retired from the NFL on September 9, 2020, announcing his retirement on Twitter.