Yippee, it’s 2023!

Sonja Karp

And woohoo, we bid adieu to 2022!

Pardon the rhyming, but it’s not every year you can pull that out.

Each new year presents the opportunity for new beginnings, and for renewed hope for better things.

Obviously, the change of a calendar year isn’t magical, nor does it mean that anything will change, but it is our belief, therefore, our will, that provides the potential for things to get better.

Since the year 2020, it seems we have been entering into each new year a bit more cautiously, for obvious reasons.

As the clock struck midnight on Saturday night, I was holding out hope for a positive beginning to 2023. That hope for a great start was definitely dimmed by what happened to Damar Hamlin, who plays safety for the Buffalo Bills.

During the first quarter of the Monday night contest against the Cincinnati Bengals, Hamlin tackled Tee Higgins and after getting up, he collapsed on the field in what we found out was cardiac arrest.

CPR was performed on the field and Hamlin was revived, but he still remains in critical condition. The NFL postponed the contest, and right now we don’t know when or if the game will be resumed.

Not a great start for sports in 2023.

However, it also got me thinking about the risks involved in playing the sport you love. 

Who can forget Joe Thiesmann and the broken leg he suffered in the game against the Giants in 1985? It was one of the most gruesome things I’ve ever seen, and the sight of his mangled leg being shown over and over again on instant replay was pretty horrifying. And, it turned out it was a career-ending injury.

Then in a 2013 NCAA tournament game, Kevin Ware Jr., who played for Louisville jumped to block a shot and came down awkwardly and also broke his leg so badly the bone pierced the skin. Fortunately for the television viewers, lessons learned from replaying Thiesmann’s similar injury years before had been learned, and we didn’t get to see all the gruesome details. However, the looks on the faces of those in the stadium said it all.

For Ware, this injury didn’t end his career and he went on to play professionally, however the memory of the injury lingers.

We’ve watched players endure bone-crunching hits, ligaments and/or tendons being torn, and a myriad of other sports related injuries play out on television, and even in the high school arena. Every time it happens, we hope that the injury isn’t serious and that the player will get up and walk off the field or the court. 

But, that is a risk that every athlete assumes when they don the uniform to play the game they love.

Hopefully, Hamlin’s injury is not an omen or an indicator of what the year of 2023 has in store for us in the sports world. Let’s also hope and pray that the young man will rebound and heal from his heart issue to again play the game he loves.


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