Wednesday’s practice was like no other for the Seattle Seahawks and every team in the NFL. Tuesday is a day off for players in the NFL so Wednesday was the first-time players met face to face and began grappling with getting back to business with the Damar Hamlin incident still fresh on their minds.
Seahawks head Physician and University of Washington Center for Sports Cardiology Director Dr. John Drezner gave a presentation to the team before the team’s Wednesday walkthrough. After his presentation to the team Dr Drezner met with the media and was asked what event or events during a game can cause an incident similar to the one Hamlin had on Monday Night.
“Sudden cardiac arrest in general in young athletes is caused by underlying heart conditions that they usually don’t know about, structural heart diseases such as cardiomyopathy or electrical heart diseases that can cause the heart to go into an abnormal rhythm potentially during exercise. In the NFL, of course, athletes are heavily screened for underlying heart conditions. There are some traumatic causes of sudden cardiac arrest like commotio cordis, which is blunt trauma to the chest.
In this particular incident Monday night, I think we don’t know what the cause was. Everyone has seen the hit, but we don’t know what the cause is, and I think it’s inappropriate to speculate if this was trauma induced or from something else. I know that the great medical staff at the University of Cincinnati in coordination with the Buffalo Bills will do their best to figure all this out.”
With Hamlin still in critical condition fighting for his life players league-wide are making decisions about to how to proceed. Reactions from players are varied and according to head coach Pete Carroll there is really no right or wrong way to cope with the situation.
Wide receiver DK Metcalf is one of the most physical players in the league. During his weekly with the media, he was asked if the Hamlin incident changes anything for him.
“My heart just goes out to his family and friends and teammates that had to go watch that and deal with it first-hand. We know what we signed up for every time we go out there and put on our helmets and step on the field. It’s just a risk that we all live with.”
Metcalf was also quick to point out during his time with the media that he recovered from a neck injury while playing at Ole Miss.
“I was still breathing, so I had a smile on my face, and I wasn’t going to let that change my trajectory of life, or how I looked at life. It just made me cherish it that much more and like I said, I know what I signed up for and every moment is going to be a big moment from that point forward.”
As a result, Metcalf says he has learned to cherish every moment in the NFL
“To better answer your question, the situation that happened Monday, I think it’s just best that we all don’t take a play for granted or take a game for granted because it can be taken away from you at any moment. I don’t think it is going to cross anybody’s mind whether that would be the Seahawks, or the Lions, or any other team in the NFL. It’s just a blessing to play on Sundays or any day. I don’t think anybody is going to have that mentality.”
As for Sunday’s game, Metcalf is well aware that it will mark the emotional return of former Seahawk Bobby Wagner.
He’s had a great season, especially the first time we played him. It looked like he was all over the field making sacks, catching picks. I know this is going to be a big game for him to be back up here playing in Seattle.”
I asked Metcalf if Sunday was an opportunity to ruin a Wagner’s homecoming.
“No, we are just trying to win. We are not trying to ruin anyone’s homecoming. I guess if we do win, it’s going to be ruined. It’s going to be ruined regardless. That’s all I’m trying to say.”
What would make this season a success for Metcalf and the Seahawks would be a playoff appearance.
“I think that we have already proved all of our doubters wrong, but I think it’s time to prove ourselves right, so when we get into the playoffs, I think we won’t have anything to lose. We weren’t supposed to make it to begin with, so we are just going out there and play free. I’m excited for the next game, the next opportunity, and the next team we play in the playoffs, hopefully, it’s the 49ers, and we’ll go down there and handle business.”