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Focus on NFL players' mental health following Damar Hamlin's hospitalization

Bills Hamlin Football
Posted at 12:16 PM, Jan 05, 2023

There are questions about whether or not some NFL players will feel ready to get back on the field this weekend following Damar Hamlin's cardiac arrest during Monday's game.

Many are still reeling from seeing Hamlin collapse and anxious about his condition even as he improves.

“When situations like this or similar happen, you know terms that are thrown around, or how do we move on, and I think that's very misleading in a way,” said Marc Cormier, a sport and exercise psychologist with the University of Kentucky. “Rather than moving on, we need to move with and I think it's incredibly difficult, if not impossible, to just block out an event like this, and just pretend like it didn't happen. and just go on to the field on Sunday and play like it with any other Sunday.”

Cormier says everyone is going to process what happened at their own pace. The key for players will be talking through what happened with their teammates and support staff.

“Mental health professionals and sports psychology professionals are, you know, needing to be on the lookout for, and maybe checking in with their athletes, and maybe even parents and teammates and coaches, you know, of all levels need to be checking in," Comier said. "Maybe this is an opportunity for us to talk about the risks associated with this but also shedding some light on the benefit as well.

The NFL has sent information to each team about available mental health and support resources and says they can request additional on-site services.

Cormier says we're seeing much more acceptance now around mental health in sports.

But there are still hurdles and a stigma that exists.