As reports of Damar Hamlin’s condition improve, including the fact that the Buffalo Bills safety is now breathing on his own, people are learning more about the history of player safety.
That’s brought back memories of Chuck Hughes — the only NFL football player to die on the field during a game.
Hughes died of a heart attack on Oct. 24, 1971, after collapsing on the field while running back to the huddle after a play. There were two minutes left in the game between Detroit and the Chicago Bears, according to the Associated Press.
Hughes, a wide receiver for the Detroit Lions, was 28 years old at the time of his death.
A report from the New York Times says Hughes’ heart attack was brought on by an undetected arterial disease.
He was buried at Sunset Memorial Park in San Antonio on Oct. 27, 1971. His wife Sharon Hughes is from the area.
Hughes played high school football in Abilene and college ball at Texas Western, now the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP).
Sharon Hughes told NBC Tuesday that she saw Hamlin collapse on the field Jan. 2 and it made her “very emotional.”
“Can you imagine how his mother felt? It’s a horrifying feeling, and, well, I just felt so sorry for the whole family last night,” said Sharon.
Hamlin, 24, went into cardiac arrest during Monday night’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals.
An update from the Buffalo Bills stated that Hamlin FaceTimed the team during a meeting Friday and said “love you boys.”
Damar Hamlin FaceTimed into our team meeting today to talk to players and coaches.— Buffalo Bills (@BuffaloBills) January 6, 2023
What he said to the team: “Love you boys.” ❤️ pic.twitter.com/8dorrWNaxt