The San Francisco 49ers returned to practice on Wednesday, just two days after the tragic medical emergency suffered by Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin during "Monday Night Football." Head coach Kyle Shanahan shared words of support for Hamlin, his teammates and the entire Bills organization during his typical afternoon media availability.
"When I saw it, the first shoes I put myself in was his parents shoes, that's all I could think of," Shanahan said. "I could not imagine seeing someone I knew, a friend, a kid sitting there like that, and you not knowing what's going on. I thought that was the most traumatizing thing. From a coach, just watching those coaches, I think they handled it as good as you could."
News of Hamlin's medical emergency has been widespread and has hit close to home for players and coaches along with their close friends and family. In order to help cope with the events of Monday night, the 49ers addressed the events in position group and individual meetings and had a clinician available all day Tuesday as a mental health resource for those emotionally affected.
"They said how sad it was and just seeing it, I think that's the way they looked at it," Shanahan said. "They thought it was a pretty freak thing and just how unfortunate the kid was. Everyone was emotional about it."
Several players took to social media prior to Wednesday to send initial messages of support, and others made monetary donations to Hamlin's fundraiser on his GoFundMe page to support a community toy drive.
"I reached out to Stefon (Diggs) because I saw him walking in the hospital," Deebo Samuel said. "Just to let him know I was praying for him, just keeping him (Hamlin) in our prayers. You never want to see anything happen like that."
Veteran safety Tashaun Gipson Sr. expressed similar sentiments about Hamlin's incident.
"This is probably the most tragic thing I've ever seen," Gipson Sr. said. "I've seen some gruesome injuries. I've been a part of some of them... but something like this is, you know, we put our bodies on the line each and every week and to see something like this happen, I think that affected everybody."