Sports column: Like Hamlin, Vicksburg’s Martin is a medical marvel – The Vicksburg Post

Sports Column: Like Hamlin, Vicksburg’s Martin is a medical marvel

Published Sunday 15 January 2023 at 11:00 am

In the past two weeks, the sporting world has learned – and thankfully marveled – at the story of Damar Hamlin.

The 24-year-old safety was a rising star for the NFL’s Buffalo Bills until he made a routine tackle during a game against Cincinnati on Jan. 2.

Hamlin’s heart stopped after colliding with receiver Tee Higgins. He collapsed and had to be revived in the field. Amazingly, he left the hospital alone 10 days later.

Of all the things we see on a soccer field every season, it was the one we never want to experience.


Unfortunately, Vicksburg football fans had seen something like this before in the 2022 season. On Oct. 25, South Alabama defenseman and Vicksburg native Marvin Martin suffered a serious neck injury during practice.

Like Hamlin, Martin’s injury appears to have occurred during a routine game. He tried to make a tackle and just touched wrong. He injured two vertebrae and was unable to move. He was taken from the field in an ambulance.

Martin began to regain some feeling in his legs shortly after the injury but had little movement or strength in his upper body. According to 2021 data from the National Center for Catastrophic Sports Injury Research, three out of five soccer players with injuries like Martin’s do not recover.

Martin, on the other hand, seems to be on the mend. Two months after his injury, he was able to walk out of the Methodist Rehabilitation Center in Jackson on his own.

Martin’s story, like Hamlin’s, is remarkable. Both players have suffered life-threatening injuries in a short space of time and still have a long life ahead of them. Applause and thanks to all the first responders, doctors and physical therapists who worked with them.

The biggest difference between Martin and Hamlin is in the months and years to come.
Despite being an NFL player, Hamlin was hardly set for life. A sixth-round draft pick in his sophomore season, he had yet to concede with a major contract. Still, if the Bills have any heart or business acumen, he should have some sort of tenured job within the organization.

Martin, on the other hand, is only a sophomore in college. He will hopefully have the opportunity to stay in South Alabama on a scholarship until he graduates, but he will have many challenges ahead.

Martin enters one of the most difficult periods of recovery from a catastrophic injury like this – the one where people’s memories and emotions begin to fade.

Martin will make the “regular life” adjustments that all top athletes do at some point, but he also has to do it while dealing with health issues and medical bills.

A GoFundMe account was set up to help him and has raised more than $18,000. It will certainly help, but the last donation came in almost two weeks ago.

As Martin continues his recovery, he needs more help. There are many things that insurance doesn’t cover and many other things that an injury like his requires. Thoughts and prayers always help, but a few bucks here and there will do the trick. If you have anything left, throw it to him.

With the whole world gathering around Damar Hamlin, MJ Martin could use some help and support too.

Ernest Bowker is Sports Editor for the Vicksburg Post. He can be reached at [email protected]

About Ernest Bowker

Ernest Bowker is Sports Editor for the Vicksburg Post. He has been a member of the Vicksburg Post sports team since 1998, making him one of the longest-serving reporters in the newspaper’s 139-year history. A native of New Jersey, he graduated from LSU. During his career, he has won more than 50 awards from the Mississippi Press Association and Associated Press for his coverage of local sports in Vicksburg.

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