Damar Hamlin’s cardiac arrest becomes vaccine talking point
The NFL incident has been weaponised by both sides of the Covid divide
During the Monday Night game between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Buffalo Bills — two of the biggest teams in the NFL — 24-year-old Bills safety Damar Hamlin collapsed after making a seemingly routine tackle of Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins. Hamlin, an unheralded 2021 draft pick out of the University of Pittsburgh, had emerged as an important player for the Bills in his second season, so initial commentary focused on the injury’s impact to his team.
However, as the minutes passed and Hamlin was administered CPR prior to being transported to a hospital, concern shifted to the player’s well-being. After hours of delay, the game was suspended — a first for the NFL, where prior injuries, including the career-ending cervical vertebrae breakages that paralysed stars Darryl Stingley and Dennis Byrd, had only briefly interrupted the state of play.
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Almost within minutes, Hamlin’s collapse — the result of a cardiac arrest for which he is currently being treated at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center — had moved from a spontaneous tragic event to an opportunity to advance Covid-related agendas. On one side, long-time reality television personality Dr. Drew Pinsky and former UFC contender Jake Shields, among many others, rushed to lay blame for the incident on the Covid vaccine.
Pinsky used the now-standard “another athlete who dropped suddenly” formulation, while Shields referenced a Rasmussen poll that found one in four Americans knew someone who has “died suddenly” after receiving the vaccine (a 2011 Scripps Howard News Service poll revealed that a similar percentage of Americans “believed they had seen an angel or knew someone who has”). Hamlin’s vaccine status has not been disclosed, but presumably he, unlike notably unvaccinated teammate Cole Beasley, received at least a dose of the vaccine when the NFL mandated it as a condition of play.
On the other side, Long Covid sufferers seized upon Hamlin’s collapse as an opportunity to note that Covid after-effects resulting from the disease itself, rather than the vaccine, have been tied to an increase in deaths from cardiac arrest. “People risk ceding unnecessary ground to antivaxxers by not acknowledging this,” wrote one. Once again, commenters had been provided no information on Hamlin’s prior Covid infection status; without that knowledge, it would be difficult to say whether the sequelae of Covid played a role in organ damage leading to cardiac arrest.
At any rate, Hamlin — a community leader throughout his high school and college years in Pittsburgh whose local charity quickly raised $4 million in the hours following his injury — deserves better than to serve as a jumping-off point for idle speculation. Whereas the heart attack death of 27-year-old Minnesota Vikings tackle Corey Stringer at training camp in 2001 merely represented an opportunity for commentators to discuss the heavy weights of NFL offensive linemen and the dangers of practicing in the summer heat, today it would stand in for much more.
Infectious ideas have been memed into the discourse and are shared via social media in a call-and-response manner whenever tangentially related to the topic at hand: every cardiac arrest is related to Covid or the Covid vaccine, every inclement weather event is related to climate change, every police shooting is related to systemic racism, every mass shooting is related to America’s inability to alter its constitutional right to bear arms.
Admittedly, there is something to each of these claims, including both Covid-related arguments cited in the wake of Hamlin’s cardiac arrest. Some research does seem to indicate that incidents of cardiac arrest among athletes under the age of 35 have increased in the previous year related to prior periods; some research indicates that Long Covid, although “discovered by patients, not by doctors or researchers” as neurologist Peter Robinson noted in a recent article, is a real disease.
But neither of these things should matter for our immediate understanding of Hamlin’s fate: he is a good man who fell down on the field while playing an inherently dangerous game, and he deserves better than to have his injury serve as a cudgel with which opposing parties can bash each other for clout and clicks.
The understatement above is unbelievable: ‘Some research does seem to indicate that incidents have … increased”. Click on the link cited and the research is showing a MASSIVE increase – as in more in the last two years than in the 38 years combined before that. Obviously lots of people disputing the research in the twitter thread. But if people felt the issue was being properly studied and not swept under the rug to protect the politicians, bureaucrats and pharmaceutical companies who bet the farm (and all of our lives) on these drugs, they probably would not feel the need to use this high profile incident. Given the potential immorality of covering up vaccine harms, and the lives such a strategy could be costing, its hard to get too worked up about the immorality of using a ‘good man’s injury. In fact it just feels like another attempt to suppress the issue and shut people up.
The article does point out that these increases could be vaccine related, they could be covid related. Right now, we don’t know the reasons, so best to keep an open mind before latching on to conpiracies.
But the theories almost all proved to be right, so let’s not call them conspiracies. It’s way too lazy, especially now with the benefit of hindsight. Not that many of us needed the hindsight of course.
Maybe I missed something, all I’ve seen so far is dogma and rumours influenced by bias
Methinks you follow CNN, Sky or the like? Breaking out with Unherd? You need to dig a bit… follow the money is the first clue. Or read the archives of Unherd and see what went on below the line all the way from 2020. Me? I am tired of mediocrity.
No. As Jim alludes to below, there is no quality research that supports these theories. It’s all supposition and confirmation bias.
On both side yes??
Wouldn’t it be nice if we were seeing high quality research and it was being tested by objective peer review? But we’re not seeing it – governments won’t fund it, publications won’t publish it and researchers are being told that doing it is severely career limiting. There was a time when science pursued the truth no matter where it went. Now science only goes where big pharma and big government tell it to go. I bet if pharma found a way to market an expensive new drug to combat vaccine harms, all of a sudden we would be awash in research.
A small selection of research studies finding serious harms associated with mRNA-based vaccination below.
The Thomas et al., (2021) paper is particularly noteworthy as it’s a 6-month safety and efficacy study conducted by Pfizer.
If you simply add up the adverse events experienced in the control and experimental groups (this data can be found in the paper’s supplemental data section: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8461570/bin/NEJMoa2110345_appendix.pdf) you’ll find that the experimental group had a significantly higher level of all-cause serious medical events (this finding is expanded on in the Fraiman et al., 2022 paper below)
Fraiman, J., Erviti, J., Jones, M., Greenland, S., Whelan, P., Kaplan, R. M., & Doshi, P. (2022). Serious adverse events of special interest following mRNA vaccination in randomized trials (SSRN Scholarly Paper No. 4125239). https://papers.ssrn.com/abstract=4125239
Oster, M. E., Shay, D. K., Su, J. R., Gee, J., Creech, C. B., Broder, K. R., Edwards, K., Soslow, J. H., Dendy, J. M., Schlaudecker, E., Lang, S. M., Barnett, E. D., Ruberg, F. L., Smith, M. J., Campbell, M. J., Lopes, R. D., Sperling, L. S., Baumblatt, J. A., Thompson, D. L., … Shimabukuro, T. T. (2022). Myocarditis cases reported after mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccination in the US From December 2020 to August 2021. JAMA, 327(4), 331–340. https://doi.org/10.1001/jama.2021.24110
Patone, M., Mei, X. W., Handunnetthi, L., Dixon, S., Zaccardi, F., Shankar-Hari, M., Watkinson, P., Khunti, K., Harnden, A., Coupland, C. A. C., Channon, K. M., Mills, N. L., Sheikh, A., & Hippisley-Cox, J. (2022). Risks of myocarditis, pericarditis, and cardiac arrhythmias associated with COVID-19 vaccination or SARS-CoV-2 infection. Nature Medicine, 28(2), Article 2. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41591-021-01630-0
Schwab, C., Domke, L. M., Hartmann, L., Stenzinger, A., Longerich, T., & Schirmacher, P. (2022). Autopsy-based histopathological characterization of myocarditis after anti-SARS-CoV-2-vaccination. Clinical Research in Cardiology. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00392-022-02129-5
Thomas, S. J., Moreira, E. D., Kitchin, N., Absalon, J., Gurtman, A., Lockhart, S., Perez, J. L., Pérez Marc, G., Polack, F. P., Zerbini, C., Bailey, R., Swanson, K. A., Xu, X., Roychoudhury, S., Koury, K., Bouguermouh, S., Kalina, W. V., Cooper, D., Frenck, R. W., … Jansen, K. U. (2021). Safety and efficacy of the BNT162b2 mRNA COVID-19 vaccine through 6 months. New England Journal of Medicine, 385(19), 1761–1773. https://doi.org/10.1056/NEJMoa2110345
Widely debunked. This paper is not new data, it’s merely been ‘re-analysed’, or indeed ‘re-spun’ because the previous paper on the same data was an utter shambles.
It’s either debunked or not.
“Widely” sounds like everywhere mostly but not entirely.
Perhaps “widely disputed” is what you meant?
Then again that can’t be possible because anything contrary to the safety and efficacy (of the jab) narrative got squashed/censored as “misinformation” until it was no longer misinformation.
When asked of the previous censorship of now true data…
Like the California legislature is keeping an open mind? They just passed a law to revoke the licence of any doctor that discusses vaccine risks with a patient. If the science on vaccine safety was so solid, why would they need to threaten doctors like this?
I think you’ll find that to be the typical kind of dogma I am referring to and has been debunked.
Until there is quality research done, all of the alleged ‘debunking’ out there is itself just more dogma. What truly fuels the conspiracy theories is that the powers that be don’t want the research done. Why is that? And why doesn’t that bother people more?
Debunked by whom? When the fact-checkers and the “debunkers” are highly partisan, why should we believe them? They are the same people who told us masks and the vax would stop the spread. And who declared The Great Barrington Declaration as misinformation.
And why are only hypotheses that some disagree with called conspiracies?
In Australia, Dr Kerryn Phelps, former president of the Australian Medical Association, has said that GPs have not discussed openly vaccine harm for fear of losing their registration. She wrote a submission to a parliamentary enquiry about problems with the vaccine, and the need to consider all ways of reducing transmission (ventilation of buildings etc).
Right now and for 3 years and how many more to come? Some prefer to stay in the “ we don’t know “ forever….
Hey Dog Eared. I agree with your sentiment. However wouldn’t it be easy to compare deaths by heart complications between vaccinated and unvaccinated?
It appears that no one is particularly interested in the “control group” because…well…”The science”
Watch Malhotra interviewed by Neil Oliver explaining why he changed his mind about vaccine injuries.
Not to mention immediately demonising any medications that were having good results, because issuing emergency authorisation for these vaccines was contingent on there being no other treatment available.
Yes remember how they all rushed to discredit hydrochloroquine resulting in the Lancet having to completely retract a paper.
So when my friend just today sent me a ‘peer reviewed’ paper from the Lancet today to prove how many lives the vaccines saved – my reaction was ‘maybe’ or maybe it’s just more ass covering propaganda from the same people who pushed and are still pushing their Covid hysteria on us. It is hard to trust liars.
Follow the money. I started doing this in 2020. AP published something demonising Ivermectin (no money in it), quoted two doctors. A simple google told me that one doctor had just received $500,000 for vaccine research, the other was mentioned frequently in ‘Dollars for Docs’. People are naive.
Did you read the comments on that linked article? They rather put some doubt into those figures!
Did you read the third sentence of my comment?
The research is not a peer reviewed study but a letter to the editor. The basis for the increase in deaths is arrived at by taking a Swiss study as its base line then comparing it to a data base compiled by an independent website.
There are two problems here. The Swiss study appears to be looking into the underlying cause of sudden deaths in athletes, it’s not trying to calculate total deaths over the period of the study. The deaths they record are only those they identified for the study, not a definitive total, it cannot be used to give an accurate rate of sudden death in athletes.
The second is that the Goodsciencing data base looks to have little methodology other than to search the internet for stories which feature the death or collapse of any individual where sport is also mentioned. There are a number of entries on there which relate to heart attacks of individuals in their 40-50’s, who played some amateur sport but were not competing at the time. This is not a rigorous method to identify excess deaths in a population.
With regards to the excess deaths that we are seeing and are noted in the letter to the editor. The most likely cause is that heath services were shut for going on two years and thousands of diagnoses missed as well as an immunity deficit built up amongst the population, particularly in the young.
This still seems to me to be the best explanation for what we are seeing.
I’m all in favour of rigorous research. “Seems to me” – the basis on which you satisfied yourself – doesn’t seem to me to be very rigorous.
Well said! Three years into it, we are still in speculation mode?!?! Are we that poor at research?!
Well said, thank you. Indeed, and when we take into consideration the censorship on social media that suppressed all questions concerning the wisdom of granting these jabs emergency authorisation and mass distribution even to young people, children and pregnant women, the suppression and censorship of all data that put the results of these jabs in a negative light, you bet that people became even more suspicious – they have now seen the evidence and they have seen that evidence mocked as mis or dis information. The WHO are now pushing to shut down all ‘mis-information’ claiming that those questioning these vaccinations are more dangerous than terrorists etc
I have not heard of healthy players dropping down with cardiac issues before and this incident is not only related to healthy players but average people. It is highly unusual. The waters have been muddied due to forced vaccine intake. People HAVE recovered from the disease covid without adverse affects. Why are the vaccines still being promoted thick & fast with repeated boosters? A body may be able to handle the disease & a vaccine but public health bodies fixation on boosting the public is perhaps destroying the body’s defences and marring the natural recovery. Having not chosen vaccines, having had Covid and recovered, I feel that (anecdotally) allowing the body to deal with the societal viruses is the most natural & effective way forward except if one is vulnerable or old.
I do wish people could try to deploy logic in their arguments. Most people recover from covid, of course, but then most people do from measles and other known childhood diseases which did kill. Many people, probably a majority recovered from the Black Death. Hardly any disease kills 100% of its victims, so your observation in itself doesn’t indicate one way or the other about the efficacy of vaccines. I’m fine, I’ve had four covid jabs – but I wouldn’t claim that that proves the vaccines can never cause harm to anyone.
Mallen Baker on his “Dangerously Reasonable” video comprehensively debunked some recent very poorly designed research which purported to show that there has been a huge increase in the rate of people ‘dropping dead’. In most of the cited cases, as with this one, the authors didn’t even know the victims vaccine status or prior exposure to the disease. Just assembling a long list of anecdotes is not data.
There has always been a well known if poorly understood medical phenomenon of sudden adult death, in fact I knew a fellow 22 year old student to whom this tragically happened decades before covid. What has changed is the political salience on both sides of seizing upon these incidents.
I can add another incident of a sudden death of a seemingly healthy, athletic, 34 year old man, as well as the sudden death of a 40 year old, not quite so athletic, family member.. A shock to all their collegues, families and friends.
Just two more anecdotes, they don’t count.
Just like another hurricane in the Atlantic does not count in the anthropologic climate change argument.
“Just assembling a long list of anecdotes is not data.” – The studious effort to NOT fully investigate these cases of odd deaths in otherwise healthy younger adults is of great concern. Given the relative lack of actual experience with the mRNA technology those investigations are needed.
Germany did a large study doing autopsies proving it is vaccine
Could you provide a reference, please.
And the tumbleweed blows around in the silence…..
There has always been a well known if poorly understood medical phenomenon of sudden adult death from random viruses….. so why the fuss over Covid
Here is an article on US military adverse vaccine reactions spiking in 2021. https://www.truthforhealth.org/2022/06/in-2021-there-was-a-1100-increase-in-vaccine-related-adverse-reactions-among-active-component-service-members/ And book Cause Unknown by Ed Dowd also looks at data on vaccine side effects.
Perhaps you don’t read the sports pages. In Europe there is at least one incident every season of a top elite footballer suffering a cardiac arrest in training or a game. Just in England, since the FA’s cardiac screening programme began in 1997, there have been eight deaths as a result of sudden cardiac arrest. Unexpected cardiac arrests kills more than 600 young people under the age of 35 each year according to the charity Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY).
Thanks Tony. Some of the people commenting here seem to have a very filtered view of reality.
Have you looked at the numbers since the vaccine? If there are clotting and other issues affecting the heart, it would stand to reason that these numbers would increase after taking the shot.
“He deserves better than to have his injury serve as a cudgel with which opposing parties can bash each other for clout and clicks.”
I am not interested in bashing anybody. Nor do I intend any disrespect to Damar Hamlins. He may yet die or suffer lasting brain or lung damage. It’s a tragedy however it happened.
But the mRNA vaccines have been linked to heart problems. I think we all deserve to know whether there is any indication that those vaccines contributed to Damar Hamlins’s heart attack. Damar Hamlins deserves that as well.
Someone who ignores the improbability of the ‘suddenly died’ incidents and the correlation with the covid vax merits no reply.
Someone who doesn’t seriously examine the stats on sudden cardiac arrest over many years, or think about how many lives have actually been saved by covid vaccination, deserves only this very short reply.
How many lives have actually been saved? Zero is best case scenario, negative a very large number is worst case.
So the massive fall-off in covid-related deaths, certainly here in the UK, has nothing to do with vaccination?
I expect a number of elderly lives have been extended, although a sensible policy of sheltering them ( as opposed to deliberately introducing the infection into care homes ) would have saved more. The cost has been, and will continue to be, a larger number of younger lives.
In older people in the early days of the vaccine, possibly yes. However, now it has far more to do with a much milder variant in circulation and the build-up of natural immunity through infection.
As we watch the excess death numbers we ought to be concerned.
Fall off since when…. When the most vulnerable had already passed? Since the advent of Omicron?
Hey Tony. That’s great news for the Uk!
In Australia over the last 2weeks of December sadly 77% of our Covid deaths were in people who had received 3 or more injections.
0 unvaccinated people were admitted to hospital. I’ll see if I can find a link for you.
Also I’m curious about the recent paper on Igg4 antibodies in folk who have had 3 or more injections, it appears that some people are becoming sicker with subsequent Covid infections after 3+ And that would seem to line up with our current death rate in Aus.
It’s worth having a look if you’re interested although I’m not sure if the paper has been replicated anywhere else as yet. Still early research.
Jeez Tony, we wouldn’t want to apply actual facts and logic, that would stop all the joy of the magical thinking being displayed here.
I agree with you, but please apply the same logic to the cries of “we must do something about climate change” whenever there is a hurricane or mud slide somewhere in the world.
It is the double standard that irritates me. Every time there is a storm we are told it is climate change even though the IPCC report has not found a link between global warming and extreme weather. But if you even suggest that there might be a link between excess deaths, or young people dying suddenly, then you are a conspiracy theorist. A six year old girl collapsed and died of myocarditis in my community last month. Her parents were big vaccine boosters on social media. A 16 year hockey player dropped dead this week. Does anyone else remember children having heart attacks in the past?
An excellent book on the subject of increased deaths in younger people after vaccination is “Cause Unknown….” by Ed Dowd. From a review on amazon from the book: “And what we saw just in third quarter (2022), we’re seeing it continue into fourth quarter, is that death rates are up 40% [according to insurance company actuarial data] over what they were pre-pandemic,” he said. “Just to give you an idea of how bad that is, a three-sigma or a one-in-200-year catastrophe would be 10% increase over pre-pandemic,” he said. “So 40% is just unheard of.”
Dear Public Health Officials: With 68% of the world’s population vaccinated and 13-billion doses administered, if the vaccines are safe and effective, how do you explain that the overwhelming number of COVID deaths –and all the highest peaks in deaths– occurred after commencement of mass vaccination?
Millennials (ages 25-44) saw an acceleration of excess mortality into the second half of 2021 to new all-time highs, a stunning 84% above baseline. Why?
Why would this incident be any different than all the others. It’s what social media was invented for, the savage pursuit of eyeballs at any cost.
I tend to agree with the potential of that logic, however I’m not sure my paramedic mates would agree with you. They have all seen an unusual increase in heart related emergencies…& they don’t post it on social media.
Cardiac arrest in seemingly healthy young people is much more common than most people imagine.
For example, this 2016 paper states, “Sudden cardiac death (SCD) is the most frequent medical cause of sudden death in athletes”.
In the years prior to the vaccine and covid it was 29/yr avg. Now it is in the hundreds in one year. See book Cause Unknown by Ed Dowd.
Does anyone really think all these players are actually vaxxed? If so I got a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you. It’s a safe bet it’s half of what the NFL says it is. But sports writers, those sages, have never to my knowledge pressed the NFL for specific details about how it’s supposed to verify a player’s status.
I can’t blame them for refusing the so-called vaccine. It doesn’t prevent anyone from “getting” Wu Tang Floo, so whatever cardiac risk is there anyway, right? Without adding the risk of the interminable shots.
In many areas there were mandates in place. To this day you cannot enter the US without being vaccinated.
Yes, there are different mandates in place. But the point is you show any old piece of paper, and voila, vaccinated.
Counterfeit shot cards work(ed) for countless nurses and other health care professionals throughout the land, it certainly worked for pro athletes.
I don’t know how Customs verifies foreigners’ vax status. A library card will get you around most local mandates. US citizens can enter without the shots.
Oh, and you could always across the southern border, no ID required, let alone some vax card! Maybe they’ll even put you up in Martha’s Vineyard.
Tragic … an article summarised as “he deserves better than to have his injury serve as a cudgel with which opposing parties can bash each other for clout and clicks. ” and all the comments are about how the covid vaccine kills (or doesn’t)
If you can’t add anything constructive to the discussion of why extremely fit young men have heart attacks on the field of play then desist from commenting.
If the comments bother you so much, perhaps you should desist from reading them?
Ah Andrew, you underestimate the partiality of many of the Unherd commenters on the topic of Covid. People who usually provide excellent insight and good talking points on other topics suddenly lose all rationality when it comes to this subject.
It’s reassuring in a way, to see how very intelligent people can adopt such a distorted view of reality.
Reasonable people can disagree. It’s only when the ad hominems come out that you know rationality itself has been abandoned.
All we can know at this stage is that anything ‘could’ have made Hamlin more susceptible to heart failure as a result of the pitch tackle. Or maybe nothing did. The real test will be how forensically his previous health is investigated to reveal the real reason for his collapse – whether commotion cordis, or an undiagnosed previous condition, or any recent medical interventions.
Anything else is pure speculation on all sides.
Pity your comment wasn’t the first comment since it sums up the whole situation perfectly. The other commenters could have saved their ink.
Just look at the picture. Hamlin took a blow to his chest which is seen as pretty savage on the video.
Commotio Cordis refers to the sudden arrhythmic death caused by a low/mild chest wall impact. Commotio Cordis is seen mostly in athletes between the ages of 8 and 18 who are partaking in sports with projectiles such as baseballs, hockey pucks, or lacrosse b***s.
Any relation to Covid would need to be proven. Do we even know if Hamlin had a vaccine or had Covid?
Unexpected cardiac arrest in the young athlete is rare but certainly not unprecedented and certainly predates Covid. Different sport but there have been some high profile incidents in the English Football Premier league, Fabrice Muamba in 2012 being but one.
Often then subsequent testing confirms a congential problem that would have required screening to identify.
However perhaps not surprising in these times both Long Covid and anti-Vax campaigners jump onto this one with their theories. You’d think folks would wait until more clinical details emerge, but one guesses the window of opportunity to create a social media ripple of half baked information too good to miss.
Yes cardiac arrest in the young has always existed, but the rate is way higher since the covid vax introduction. Israeli research (look it up!) proved that mild covid infection did not cause any myocarditis, and Thai research showed that vaccinating teenage boys with the covid vaccine did cause raised troponins (a sign of possible heart damage) in 29% of the boys!!! All of this needs further research. Insurance figures from the US clearly demonstrate excess deaths in the youngest healthiest working age populations have increased SIGNIFICANTLY since the covid vaccine inroduction in 2021- the increase WAS NOT SEEN during 2020 when covid happened. Google Edward Dowd for more info and analysis on this point. Please Unherd do the research on this!!!
All for more research, so long as properly peer reviewed.
Raised troponins – ‘possible’ heart damge being the key word. You can get raised troponins after intensive exercise/training.
Excess deaths – be cautious. There is a big difference between correlation and causation. There is a plethora of bad science publication that forgets, in a rush to confirmatory bias, something so basic.
That said I do agree we should continue to research this properly.
And in the meantime? Carry on with the boosters and vaccine mandates? Follow the money.
Time to don the tinfoil hat before reading the comments.
In what way does your comment contribute to this conversation?
It’s a fairly typical comment of current (mainstream)online behavior to belittle and other and shut down dialogue.
It has no place here.
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