During the Monday Night Football game between Buffalo Bills and Cincinnati Bengals, Bills safety Damar Hamlin collapsed after making a hit in the first quarter. He was in critical condition at a hospital. Hamlin, 24, suffered cardiac arrest, the Bills said in a statement early Tuesday. There have been too many incidents of this occurring in the sport in recent years. In 2014, I covered a tragic story of a high school football player who died at a game.

By Michael Lewis

FrontRowSoccer.com Editor

A little more than four years ago, Oct. 1, 2014, I covered the Shoreham-Wading River football game at Elwood/John Glenn High School for the Riverhead News-Review. The game was played on a Wednesday because of the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur that weekend.

Late in the third quarter, Tom Cutinella, a junior guard-linebacker, suffered an injury on a running play and was injured. Cutinella got up and stumbled to a knee. He stood again and attempted to walk off the field but collapsed several feet from the sideline. He was taken to Huntington Hospital, where he died several hours later.

I sent in my original story to managing editor Joe Werkmeister, who once was the sports editor of the paper, before Cutinella had died. Since Joe probably had forgotten more about Shoreham athletics than I would ever know, he took over the coverage from there. At 11:05 p.m. I received an email from him saying that Cutinella had passed away.

I was stunned, utterly stunned.

Never had I ever received an email like that. I felt for him, his family and the Shoreham-Wading River team and community.

Here is my story about Tom Cutinella for the Riverhead News-Review website Oct. 1, 2014, prior to discovering that the Shoreham-Wading River player has passed away:

By Michael Lewis

Lined up two by two, a solemn Shoreham-Wading River High School football team marched out of the Elwood/John Glenn High football stadium with many of the players holding hands last Wednesday.

The players presumably were showing solidarity for their fallen teammate, Tom Cutinella, who was injured in their Suffolk County Division IV game against Glenn.

At the time the game was suspended, the Wildcats led, 17-12, with 3:51 remaining in the third quarter.

Several hours later, Cutinella died at Huntington Hospital due to injuries he suffered on the last play before officials called the game in Elwood. He was 16.

The contest originally was rescheduled to be finished last Thursday, but it was not known if or when the game will be completed.

Cutinella, a junior guard-linebacker and an honors student, suffered the injury on a running play with SWR facing a second down and five situation at its 45-yard line. Quarterback Danny Hughes had handed the ball to Chris Rosati, who began to run to his left. Cutienlla went to block a defender as a collision occurred between him and a Glenn player.

Rosati gained five yards and secured a first down at the 50-yard line.

Cutinella reportedly got up and stumbled to a knee. He stood again and attempted to walk off the field but collapsed several feet from the sideline, according to a witness.

After Cutinella fell to the ground, the game was stopped as the crowd went silent. SWR head coach Matthew Millheiser and several school officials stood near the junior.

Both teams eventually were instructed to go to opposite end zones. They took their helmets off and a knee while officials waited for an ambulance. The injury occurred at about 5:45 p.m. and an ambulance with emergency medical technicians from the Greenlawn Fire Department responded in 10 minutes.

While Cutinella was put on a stretcher and placed in the vehicle, the crowd applauded with some fans shouting: “OK Thomas! OK Thomas.”

The ambulance left the field at 6:05 p.m.

After the game was suspended and the Wildcats left the field and filled their bus, Millheiser was asked about Cutinella’s condition.

“He’s in good hands at Huntington Hospital,” he said outside the team bus.

Asked if there was any diagnosis, Millheiser replied, “That’s it.”

The game, an early-season showdown between the best defense (3-0 SWR) and offense (3-0 Glenn) in Division IV, was turning into quite a competitive match.

Just prior to the game suspension, the Wildcats grabbed a 17-12 lead on Hughes’ 43-yard touchdown pass to Rosati with 6:40 left in the third quarter and had regained possession on Aaron Harley’s interception.

SWR did not get off to a good start as Hughes was intercepted by linebacker Edwin Rubio on the third play from scrimmage at its 31-yard line. Five plays later, Glenn quarterback Wayne White ran 17 yards up the middle to score a TD with 8:25 remaining in the opening quarter. The point after was not converted as the Knights led, 6-0.

The Wildcats grabbed a 7-6 edge as Hughes swept 11 yards to the right side and Daniel Mahoney converted the first of his two extra points with 3:31 left in the second period.

The visitors extended their lead to 10-7 on Mahoney’s 29-yard field goal with three seconds remaining in the half.

The Panthers retook the lead on their first drive of the second half, a four-play, 65-yard series that was climaxed by White’s four-yard TD run for a 12-10 advantage with 10:26 remaining in the quarter. The extra-point attempt hit the right upright and bounded away.

On the next drive, the Wildcats went 68 yards in seven plays, highlighted by Hughes’ long pass to Rosati as Mahoney kicked the point after for a five-point lead.

I handed the story over to Werkmeister. He knew many more people at SWR H.S. than I did. I knew he would do the story justice.

It still was one of my grimmest and depressing days in journalism.