The football world ground to a halt Jan. 2 when Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin suffered a cardiac arrest during a “Monday Night Football” game against the Cincinnati Bengals.
On Saturday, viewers of the Old Dominion and Georgia Southern men’s basketball game also witnessed a midgame collapse.
According to WAVY-TV in Norfolk, Virginia, ODU teammates “watched in shock” as sophomore guard Imo Eissen collapsed on the court during the game in Statesboro, Georgia.
Essien was playing defense when he fell on his backside, struggled to return to his feet and laid back down on his back “appearing to be in pain,” according to Fox News.
Training staff from both schools rushed to attend to the downed player, according to WAVY.
He reportedly didn’t appear to lose consciousness and was helped off the court by trainers.
“Imo Essien was evaluated by the ODU Athletic Training staff along with the GA Southern medical staff,” Old Dominion said in a statement on Twitter. “He was responsive throughout and was able to sit with the team for the duration of the game and drove home with the team.
“He is in good spirits and will work with the ODU Sports Medicine Staff when they return to Norfolk.”
Statement Regarding Imo Essien pic.twitter.com/Tyycn2CPwi
— ODU Men’s Basketball (@ODU_MBB) January 8, 2023
ODU went on to defeat Georgia Southern 81-75 in overtime. Essien had 2 points in three minutes of playing time.
This event comes in the wake of Hamlin’s cardiac arrest in Cincinnati, which could have cost him his life.
His terrifying first-quarter collapse would eventually cause the entire game to be canceled, with players understandably focused on matters much more important than football.
Unlike Essien, Hamlin wasn’t able to leave the field on his own two feet. He was taken to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center in critical condition.
Thankfully, he has also improved, and attending physicians removed his breathing tube last week.
While Hamlin began the early stages of recovery, the sporting world responded with an outpouring of prayers and support, completely inundating Hamlin’s GoFundMe dedicated to the Chasing M’s Foundation Community Toy Drive with donations. The fundraiser’s initial goal was $2,500. It had collected about $8.6 million as of Monday morning.
On Saturday, Hamlin shared his appreciation for the love and prayer he has received since his injury.
“The love is felt, & extremely real. No matter race or religion everybody coming together in prayer!” he tweeted.
The love is felt, & extremely real. No matter race or religion everybody coming together in prayer! 🙏❤️
— 𝐃𝐚𝐦𝐚𝐫 𝐇𝐚𝐦𝐥𝐢𝐧 (@HamlinIsland) January 8, 2023
Essien, like Hamlin, thanked everyone for the prayers in a tweet Sunday.
Thank you for all the prayers!#StillHighlyBlessed pic.twitter.com/qooDVyLo2B
— Imo Essien (@imo_essien) January 8, 2023
Lord willing, both young men will be able to again play the games they love.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.