Bison Droppings, Commentary

Buffalo Bills Are Not OK

Featured Photo Credit: © Kareem Elgazzar/The Enquirer / USA TODAY NETWORK via, LLC.

And neither are we.

The Bills’ 35-23 win over the New England Patriots on Sunday was almost an afterthought in the minds and hearts of players, coaches, families and our entire fan base. After Damar Hamlin’s cardiac arrest on the field during Monday Night Football in Cincinnati on January 2, many of us are still running on fumes.

While we watched Coach McDermott, Brandon Beane, Josh Allen and several other players be interviewed over the last few days, the psychotherapist still residing in my brain was on full tilt mode. What I saw from the interviews, especially those after the victory over the Patriots on Sunday were telling.

Photo by © Kareem Elgazzar / USA TODAY NETWORK via, LLC.

Coach McDermott is OK (at this time).

I think most people who witnessed Damar Hamlin’s cardiac arrest on national TV also saw Coach McDermott lead the way, but always being his authentic self. He expressed his fear and other emotions while taking leadership about doing the right thing and suspending the game. The entire response by the NFL clearly came from the leadership shown by Coaches Zach Taylor and Sean McDermott.

I don’t know much about Coach Taylor, but I’ve studied Sean McDermott since he was named head coach of the Bills. If you want a representative example of a person who LIVES their faith, look no further. Deeply religious and highly intuitive, McDermott understands and accepts his role as a mentor and leader of people. He is a proud man, but you won’t find much in the way of an out control ego. His mantra “hungry and humble” is preached, but Coach McDermott’s actions speak louder than words.

Yet even as Coach McDermott helps to guide us through this hellacious mental pathway and move forward, his admission he will reach out for help was a message for all of us. Just because we’re a week out, a month out or a year out from this event, it’s been seared into our brain as intensely as a Yellowstone Ranch brand on our chests.

Photo by © Kareem Elgazzar/The Enquirer / USA TODAY NETWORK via, LLC.

We are only in the beginning stage of this journey.

The necessary processing of any life altering event takes place over time. It happens for people in unique ways. Some processing behaviors are more productive than others, but we must keep an open mind about how people experience mental trauma and anguish. These are weighty issues, and are generally avoided until confronted with in reality.

For example, when you look and listen to Tre’Davious White talk after the game against New England on Sunday, you can easily see how raw all of this remains for him. No doubt the entire fan base wanted to give him a big hug in that moment. Regardless of mindset, the players all functioned well enough to win the game. But make no mistake, some are more emotionally fragile about what happened to Damar Hamlin than others, as evidenced by Tre’s heartfelt response to the media.

Watching Josh Allen momentarily break down in tears with the media was heart wrenching. The high level of empathy this Bills team has for one another is remarkable. Allen’s emotional state was clearly on display during his press conference on Sunday after the game.

Allen was honest and blunt about how he replays the scene when Hamlin was getting CPR over and over again in his head. Thankfully he is self aware and getting the support he needs to control any intrusive thoughts he may have in the future.

Now is when chronic problems are more likely to emerge.

Necessary healing after watching Damar Hamlin fight for his life on national TV is only in the beginning stages. The brain will process this ‘event’ as it does any other highly disturbing situation in life. We can choose to define ourselves by these events as a victim or use it to grow it into our ‘wisdom tree’.

From this old woman’s viewpoint, the most important thing we can do for each other right now is to show compassion. The world is full of bad behavior and dysfunctional thinking. But Damar Hamlin’s cardiac arrest stopped us all in our tracks for a moment.

And then on we went.

However, it does often cause us to evaluate our own behavior and situation in life as we go about our merry way. Are we wasting our time in our job, relationship, whatever? Is it time for a change, whatever change regarding self improvement we promised ourselves in the year ahead… and already trashed before the middle of January???

Preaching kindness is being blasted all over the media… and while there’s little doubt this is a good thing, from my view it’s the ACTS of kindness that matter more. Words must be followed by action. Letting go of grudges and personal animosities benefits everyone.

You can see Buffalo Bills players (and Coach McDermott) developing a sense of spiritual awareness about what happened to Damar Hamlin. But each is doing so in their own way. This is what we can also do for each other as we process our own feelings as we go about the business of life.

Showing love and compassion is the most effective recipe for healing a sad soul I’ve ever witnessed in decades of experience evaluating behavior. We as a fan base are known for being compassionate with the millions of dollars raised for benevolent causes over the years.

As fans of the Buffalo Bills, we should remind ourselves acts of kindness should include being patient and understanding with whatever happens in the NFL Wild Card Matchup with the Miami Dolphins this weekend… because this thing ain’t easy for no one.

News coming in that Damar Hamlin was released from the University of Cincinnati Hospital and transferred/transported to a hospital in Buffalo is surely good news. A step in the right direction. A step toward ‘OK’.

Editor’s babble: You can also find me on Twitter @RobynMundyWYO. is sponsored by 26 Shirts

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18 thoughts on “Buffalo Bills Are Not OK”

  1. PTSD isn’t a fun thing to process, however doing it as a team really helps everyone understand and feel that they aren’t alone. And working as a team to accomplish some goals ( as long as it’s small steps ) they will eventually overcome this.

  2. Guess where my head went immediately? It went to Kevin Everrett #85 and watching his in game injury and being rushed to the hospital. I wore that shirt the next day and lifted good juju into the ether for #3, for my Bills and for all of us. Then yesterday I wore my This team, This city, This year shirt for the game. All the 3s keep coming up….and our angels have us- we just need to listen and exude love ❤️ and. Go Bills!

    • Amen! I thought of Everett as well. This team, franchise, region and fanbase has been through enough. We need to win this. This is our season. Let’s win it for Damar! Go Bills!

  3. I agree.I found myself in tears several times before, during and after the game while Josh,Tre and the Coach were speaking.I am so happy that Demar is doing well and home in Buffalo close to his brothers and I’m sure they are too.We all need to be kinder to one another and pay it forward as Damar does.Love×3 Go Bills ❤️💙 🏈

  4. Wow what a bummer of an article. Damar was saved and is recovering! There was magic on display during the game on Sunday. Highmark, the team and all the nation revels in that joy with #3 – you seem to be missing out on it.

    • With what you’ve said in mind, read the article again. Yes, there IS relief and joy, but this article is asking you to look beyond that and be patient with a team of mostly very young people, who have been traumatised by an event, who still have some healing to do. I was traumatised by an event in 2008, and I still have a nightmare about it every now and then. A happy ending doesn’t erase their experience. Their emotions are still raw, they still need to process the experience and get control over it. This will manifest in different ways with each player, and we should not expect immediate healing. I hope you learn that from rereading the article.

    • I’m sorry, it seems, that we have missed out on the point of this article.

      This is not a bummer of an article, but a call to patience and compassion. That despite the good reasoned revelry and subsequent good result Sunday, for which we are all glad, it does not indicate that “all is well, onward and upward”.

      It is the very sentiment suggested here – one seemingly espoused and displayed – that this article is speaking to – that this is not a matter to be quickly concluded and dismissed, but a long arduous road of intermittent healing and reliving, and more healing.

      It is a gentle and insightful admonition that the emotional upheaval that was, is, and will be experienced, especially by those close, will be ongoing, difficult, potentially frustrating, and even, at times, debilitating – and – in public view.

      That even in light of all of the good that has transpired, according to the author’s perceptive observation, it is evident that these men, though overjoyed for #3’s ongoing recovery, and happy for the victory, are not “over it”, and that we ought not assume otherwise. That our prayerful concern for them should continue and our expectations of them should be tempered as Damar is not the only injured party whose healing and rehabilitation must be given credence and allowed to continue.

      It is this type of response that can cause a sufferer of trauma and tragedy to doubt themselves and even prolong, if not inhibit, their progress in and through grief and healing.

      I might encourage all of us to take a moment to reflect on these expressed feelings and opinion and consider their implication in our own life and the lives we encounter, and their potential impact. To ensure that our presumptions are not, no matter the intention, a cause for prolonged or inhibited processing or further harm.

      And, that as we move forward, we do not insist that others feel and move at the pace we deem appropriate, but maintain an air of consideration and kindness, compassion and patience, with any and all who have suffered as such – that we might heal, and promote the healing of others – which ironically, if we will commit to, will actually promote and progress our own healing and further the healing of the collective community.

  5. Spot. On.

    You could see on their faces on that Monday night that many thought they’d lost a friend, a teammate, a brother. Nine minutes of CPR? Fair assumption. I was so glad when they were finally able to leave the field and be together as a team and away from the cameras.

    That Damar, even as he started recovering, is consuming their thoughts and some are having flashbacks is understandable. As young men, some may be confronting their own mortality for the first time. They’re confronting how their choice might affect their families, as it affected Damar’s. It’s so unlike “TV trauma” where we see fictional people go through Hell, but by the end of an episode, they’re fine and ready to go at it again a week later, same time, same channel.

    I was in awe that they were able to pull it together for the Patriots game. I admire how candid they’ve been in their interviews and press conferences. And I’ll continue to pray for the difficulties that lie ahead.

  6. It takes time to process a traumatic event. It is a good thing The Bill’s put all their love and energy Into that amazing game on Sunday still they need time to process what they saw. I am sure they are being debriefed and sharing their individual reactions to this event with a mental health professional. With time the emotional rawness will wear off.

  7. Have we all become pussies? You’d think then man was killed in front of millions. The man had a heart attack, a common occurrence in everyone’s life. Suck it up and deal with it. Life goes on. Go to work and do your job.

    Would people be just as upset if he’d got run over by the team bus in the parking lot after drinking too many beers?

  8. People deal with tragedy, trauma, mental anguish, helplessness is different ways. Some, unable to stand still, need to keep busy and return to normal routines. Others withdraw, wearing their hearts on their sleeves.
    I was a Clinical Pharmacist in a Primary Care Clinic at the Buffalo VA. The anguish of helplessness when you see your buddies get blown up or open a helicopter to remove the charred bodies of fellow soldiers becomes unbearable.
    I would guess that most of the players on the field may have never seen the near death of anyone.
    Good news in Damar’s case brings a sigh of relief but a win will not resolve the nightmares or the repetitive thoughts of seeing Damar on the ground receiving CPR.
    I agree with you that patience, checking on each other, and insisting on professional guidance to help in the healing process is necessary. Thankfully, the Bills do seem to sincerely care for each other, it’s an obviously close knit group.
    Thank you for describing what the players’ needs might be and how those needs should be treated.

  9. Yes, as someone who suffers from PTSD related to an unanticipated life saving surgery and it’s aftermath, I hope that we don’t forget about Damar. The trauma, the outpouring of concern, love and support from the whole country is going to be emotionally and mentally overwhelming for this young man. Never mind the physical recovery. His reality will require intense attention to his mental health.

  10. The Bible says out of the mouth comes the things of the heart, Mathew 15: 18.
    You can tell about a person hearts by the things they say, whether bad or good, whether compassion or not.
    It’s funny how we think different when it happens to someone we love. For the people who didn’t understand what the purpose of the article was, check your heart.
    Much love

  11. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if after each play players helped each other get up from the ground, no matter what team they’re on. That would certainly help the image of the NFL.

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