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Damar Hamlin’s sudden collapse sent ESPN scrambling

How Scott Van Pelt shifted from covering a game to a crisis

New York CNN — “Sports is important. And suddenly it’s not.”

Those were the salient words of “SportsCenter” host Scott Van Pelt Monday night after Damar Hamlin suddenly collapsed on the field during the high stakes Bills-Bengals game. Within moments, Van Pelt knew that the injury was very different than those normally sustained on the football field.

ESPN quickly cut to a commercial break after the horrific incident left fellow players in tears as millions watched with bated breath at home. But inside the Washington “nerve center” of the venerable sports program where Van Pelt was monitoring the game, he had access to an internal ESPN feed that showed what was transpiring on the field.


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