Chuck Hughes’ widow was ‘very emotional’ over Damar Hamlin

“Monday Night Football” brought back a very painful memory for Sharon Hughes, the widow of late former Lions receiver Chuck Hughes.

Chuck Hughes was 28 years old when he collapsed and died in a game against the Bears in 1971. His widow, Sharon, now 77, spoke to NBC News about what went through her mind when she saw Bills safety Damar Hamlin collapse on the field after suffering cardiac arrest Monday night against the Bengals.

“I was very emotional,” she said.

Her thoughts turned to Hamlin’s family.

“Can you imagine how his mother felt?” Hughes aked. “It’s a horrifying feeling and, well, I just felt so sorry for the whole family last night.”

Dick Butkus looks on after Lions receiver Chuck Hughes collapsed and died on the field in 1971.
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Hamlin collapsed after a play in which he tackled Bengals wideout Tee Higgins. The 24-year-old safety received CPR on the field and was taken to the hospital in an ambulance. He has been listed in critical condition.

Bills safety Damar Hamlin went into cardiac arrest during “Monday Night Football” against the Bengals. Follow the New York Post’s live coverage for injury updates on his condition.

Chuck Hughes absorbed a hit from two Bears defenders on a 32-yard reception from Lions quarterback Greg Landry. He got up, but a couple plays later, on the way back to the huddle, he made brief eye contact with legendary Bears linebacker Dick Butkus, and collapsed. An autopsy revealed that Hughes had a clogged artery. Presumably from the big hit, a blood clot blocked blood from going to his heart. He also likely had a previous heart attack that season in an incident that had originally been characterized as a spleen injury.

Bills safety Damar Hamlin was transported to the hospital after suffering from cardiac arrest on Monday.
Bills safety Damar Hamlin was transported to the hospital after suffering from cardiac arrest on Monday.
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“It’s like being in a time warp,” Sharon Hughes told reporter Les Carpenter in 2013. “You know you are there but you are floating in the ether. I don’t know, what is it? Denial? Here I’m 25, he’s 28, you think you can do anything you want to and you never consider the alternative, which is death. Death took place unexpectedly; you have a loss of consciousness. You are just floating.”

She did not blame football for her husband’s death.

“You can’t blame football,” she told NBC, attributing the cause of death more to genetics. “I never did.” 

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