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Madden NFL 23 removing faux-CPR celebration after Damar Hamlin collapse

Staging a cardiac arrest scene is too much, too soon, even for Madden.



Enlarge / Damar Hamlin of the Buffalo Bills suffered a cardiac arrest on Jan. 2 during an NFL game, requiring on-field CPR and defibrillation. It has made Madden NFL 23‘s faux-CPR-and-defibrillation touchdown celebration seem a bit insensitive. (credit: Kevin Sabitus/Getty Images)

Madden NFL 23 is a fantasy in which you can enjoy a hyped-up simulation of NFL football with wild plays and unlikely outcomes. But a bit of reality will be patched in soon, as the game’s publisher, EA, is removing a touchdown celebration that has an unfortunate resonance with recent life-threatening events.

Damar Hamlin, a 24-year-old safety for the Buffalo Bills, collapsed soon after tackling a Cincinnati Bengals player during a Monday Night Football game on January 2. Local and league medical officials attended to Hamlin for 19 minutes, during which he received CPR and required an automated external defibrillator to restore his heartbeat after a cardiac arrest. Medical experts later suggested that Hamlin may have suffered an incident of commotio cordis, when a blow to the chest interrupts the electrical signals of the heart and creates an erratic heartbeat that stops blood flow to the brain.

Hamlin was later placed on a stretcher, given oxygen, and taken to a Cincinnati hospital. The game remained suspended for more than an hour before the NFL suspended it indefinitely. It was later canceled entirely. Hamlin was released from intensive care in Cincinnati Monday and has returned to Buffalo, where he was released today.

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