One of the most horrific events in NFL history occurred on Monday in a contest between the Buffalo Bills and Cincinnati Bengals.
It was supposed to be a highly anticipated matchup between two of the best teams in the AFC and two of the best quarterbacks in Josh Allen and Joe Burrow, but instead, it was the scene of a life-threatening event.
Bills safety Damar Hamlin suffered a cardiac arrest after making a tackle on Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins and collapsing to the ground seconds later, and the entire sports world is hoping he survives and makes a full recovery.
Hamlin wasn’t a household name prior to the incident, but he, like many pro athletes, has done some philanthropy.
Before he even played his first pro game, he started a GoFundMe page in order to run a toy drive to help disadvantaged children, and he eventually met his goal of raising $2,500 for that initiative.
But in the hours after he suffered cardiac arrest, a massive influx of donations raised that number to almost $6 million.
Among the biggest donors have been several current and former members of the San Francisco 49ers.
“One look at the list of ‘top donors’ on Hamlin’s GoFundMe page will show that the likes of quarterback Trey Lance, running back Christian McCaffrey, and tight end George Kittle all donated at least $1,000 to Hamlin’s foundation,” wrote Justin Fried of Niner Noise.
In addition, Solomon Thomas, a former Niners defensive end who is currently with the New York Jets, as well as quarterback Brian Hoyer, who spent half a season with them, also made a generous donation to Hamlin.
#Jets DL Solomon Thomas is among the top donors to Damar Hamlin’s toy drive foundation.
— Justin Fried (@JustinTFried) January 3, 2023
To paraphrase the late legendary sportscaster Howard Cosell, who spent years on the “Monday Night Football” broadcast crew, sports can offer us the best that the human spirit has to offer.
It was extremely heartening to see members of both the Bills and Bengals not only express extreme concern for Hamlin, but also band together as human beings rather than just members of rival AFC Super Bowl contenders.
Since then, countless members of the NFL brotherhood have pitched in, offering help and positive vibes to Hamlin and his loved ones.NEXT: 3 Scenarios That Could Play Out For The 49ers In Week 18