Medical misinformation arises regarding NFL player's collapse

Shortly after Buffalo Bills player Damar Hamlin collapsed on the field during a Jan. 2 NFL game, COVID-19 misinformation began circulating on Twitter. 

Mr. Hamlin suffered cardiac arrest, according to a Jan. 3 tweet from the Buffalo Bills' official account. His heartbeat was restored on the field, and he remains in critical condition at Cincinnati-based UC Medical Center, CNN reported Jan. 4. Some Twitter users speculated that Mr. Hamlin's collapse could be attributed to a COVID-19 vaccine. 

"Everybody knows what happened to Damar Hamlin because it’s happened to too many athletes around the world since COVID vaccination was required in sports," tweeted former Newsmax correspondent Emerald Robinson. 

Liz Wheeler, a video podcaster, tweeted that heart issues from the COVID-19 vaccine are more common in young men than cardiac arrests. Twitter owner Elon Musk replied, "Certainly worth further investigation." 

Two cardiologists told The Washington Post that after watching video footage of the game, they speculate a blow to Mr. Hamlin's chest threw his heart out of rhythm and disrupted blood flow to his brain. Medical professionals warn that tweets blaming the vaccine are baseless — but not harmless — as the CDC predicts deaths from COVID-19 to increase during the month of January. 

"The [suggested] link between the COVID-19 vaccine [and cardiac arrest] is wildly and irresponsibly speculative from a very vocal minority," Michael Emery, MD, co-director of the sports cardiology center at Cleveland Clinic, told Fortune

Twitter stopped labeling COVID-19 misinformation on Nov. 23 following its acquisition by Mr. Musk, prompting backlash from healthcare workers. 


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