Only NFL player to die on field during a game is buried in San Antonio

Chuck Hughes died of a heart attack in 1971

Detroit Lions wide receiver Chuck Hughes lies on his back with his right arm hanging off the stretcher, in Detroit, Oct. 24, 1971. A doctor from the stands, wearing checkered pants, helps wheel Hughes off the field. With less than two minutes left in the game between Detroit and the Chicago Bears, Hughes collapsed when running back to huddle after a pass pattern. (AP Photo/Don Merrein) (Don Merrein, Associated Press)

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.

Chuck Hughes, Detroit Lions wide receiver,July 19,1971 file photo.(AP Photo/Jim Mone) (AP1971)

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, widow of Detroit Lions football player Chuck Hughes, sits quietly beside his casket at graveside services in San Antonio, Oct. 27, 1971. Hughes, 28, died of a heart attack after collapsing during Sunday’s game with the Chicago Bears in Detroit. (AP Photo/Ted Powers) (Associated Press)

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.”

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