ROCHESTER, N.Y. – While Damar Hamlin continues his recovery following a cardiac arrest that happened on the field during a game on Monday night, his coach and teammates are talking frankly about the mental health challenges they’ve faced this week because of it.
“The scene just replays over and over in your head,” Bills quarterback Josh Allen said at a press conference on Thursday, “I’d be lying to you if I didn’t say that some people are going to be changed forever after being on the field and witnessing that and feeling those emotions.”
Coach Sean McDermott also spoke honestly and directly about how he’s been coping, “like anybody else, I need to be able to have enough self-awareness to know when I need a break and when I need to seek out a counselor as well, so I think it’s important to note that that is not a sign of weakness, if anything that’s a sign of strength and people need to know that out there,” he said.
Andriana Lozier is a licensed therapist who works for the Mental Health Association of Rochester, “I’m really sympathetic to this entire event, because when you think about sports and the NFL, this is the form of escapism from our day-to-day and our stressors so, to then turn to something like this and see, this is really jarring for everyone,” she tells News10NBC.
The situation can be even more triggering for those who may have a loved one with a heart issue or know someone who has suffered a cardiac arrest, “Obviously, what happened was upsetting right? But to what degree? Does this trigger something from the past, is this may be something I’m going to want to unpack with a therapist and do more extensive therapy? Am I wanting maybe short term, just to help desensitize the distress from that sort of event,” all questions Lozier says someone should ask themselves.
Even if this particular situation didn’t trigger a mental health issue, Lozier is hoping that Coach McDermott and Josh Allen’s honesty will continue to reduce the stigma of mental health issues and get more people talking, “a lot of people are finding the benefits of connecting with peers, because they’re able to share and exchange freely,” she says.
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