Local coach reacts to Hamlin collapse after experiencing similar incident in 2007

For longtime field hockey coach Sherry Webb, this hit close to home after watching one of her own players, 14-year-old Bethany McMeniman, collapse and die on th
Updated: Jan. 3, 2023 at 6:10 PM EST
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HATFIELD, Mass. (WGGB/WSHM) - For longtime field hockey coach Sherry Webb, Buffalo Bills’ Damar Hamlin’s collapse during Monday night’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals hit close to home, especially since one of her own field hockey players at Smith Academy collapsed and died on the field back in 2007.

“I had been watching the game, and immediately, my heart just was crushed,” Webb told Western Mass News.

She was the coach for the girls’ field hockey team at Smith Academy in Hatfield for over three decades. She shared her reaction with us after witnessing NFL player Damar Hamlin collapsing on the field Monday night, and later discovering he suffered from cardiac arrest.

“It was a difficult night,” Webb said. “Not just for me, but I’m sure for so many people around the country. I’m sure I’m not the only person who has experienced this kind of tragedy; there are a lot of people.”

For Webb, this hit close to home after watching one of her own players, 14-year-old Bethany McMeniman, collapse and die on the field in 2007.

“She had an undiagnosed cardiac problem, and we were preparing for the tournament,” Webb recalled. “It was very difficult. There was no contact involved. We were simply doing some conditioning at the very end of practice.”

She told Western Mass News that she knew she had to contact Bethany’s former teammates right away after watching Hamlin’s collapse that was similar to the one she experienced over a decade ago.

“I immediately sent out a message to the field hockey team of that year because, if any of them had seen it, there would definitely be a reaction. It’s more difficult than I can even explain,” Webb said. “It was very important for me and for Bethany McMeniman’s teammates to be together to rely on each other for strength. There’s no answer, there’s only questions, and you need those close around you to get through it.”

As for one of the big questions she is raising....

“My very personal reaction is, why didn’t Roger Goodell, within a half hour, stop the game?” Web asked. “Don’t even think about it and figure out details further forward, but there was no need for that to drag on as it did last night.”

The NFL also announced that the Bills game against the Patriots will go on as scheduled this Sunday.