Ken Hamlin was in trouble. And it was serious.
First reported by Seattle radio station “The Buzz”, then speculated by sports radio station KJR, the story of Hamlin’s head injury and hospitalization flooded internet message boards as Seahawk fans breathlessly awaited the truth.
And finally, less than an hour before the Seahawks were to release their own statement on the situation, Mike Sando of the Tacoma News Tribune broke the story that the Seahawks’ starting safety was in intensive care at Harborview Hospital in Seattle after a post-game nightclub altercation. Sando learned the truth after speaking with Jason Medlock, Hamlin’s former agent. Medlock was in a Houston airport, in transit to Seattle, to visit his friend and former client. Sando reported that Medlock said the following: “(Hamlin) hit his head at one point. I have not had a chance to talk to Ken yet. But I’m on my way up there. Everything I’m hearing is that that is pretty precautionary (going into ICU). They’ve been running some tests and things are better than it could have been."
After that, the news flooded in from many sources. Hamlin is currently in serious but stable condition at Harborview, according to team physician Dr. Stan Herring. Dr. Herring said in a team press conference that Hamlin suffered skull, brain and hand injuries in an altercation following the game.
“He has a skull fracture,” Dr. Herring told the assembled media. “He has a small subdural hematoma, and he has some bruising of the brain tissue. He will be kept in the intensive-care unit at Harborview as we monitor him closely for the next 24-48 hours. So far, he has done well. After that time frame, if he is stable we will make further plans about care. Right now, Ken is awake intermittently and talking to us. There is no evidence of severe brain injury in that regard.
“He is cooperating and when awake, alert and knows what is going on. … He’s a little confused and tired. We have to wake him up over and over to make sure he is OK. He knows where he is. He knows his family is coming to see him.”
“The concern is to make sure his neurologic status does not deteriorate,” Herring said. “At this point, it appears this will be managed non-operatively unless things change.”
Herring also said that Hamlin’s broken hand will heal without surgery. According to many sources, the blood clot caused by a trauma to the left side of Hamlin's head in the altercation is the primary concern at this time.
Regarding the circumstances surrounding the assault, Seahawks president Tim Ruskell issued a statement.
“Ken was the victim of an assault outside a downtown nightclub early this morning. Ken is in intensive care in serious but stable condition. Coach (Mike) Holmgren and I talked with Ken and his spirits are good considering the situation. We are working in concert with the Seattle Police Department. The fact that this is an active assault investigation prevents us from further comment at this time. As information becomes available we will share it with you. Our thoughts and prayers are with Ken and his family."
On Monday evening, Sando obtained the police report of the incident and published it on his own excellent blog. According to the police report, Hamlin and a female companion (identified as his girlfriend) were leaving a congested area (later identified as “Larry’s Nighclub” by local television news reporters ) on First Avenue S. and S. Main Street in Seattle. Hamlin was walking ahead of his companion, leading her through the crowd, when Hamlin placed his hand on the back of one of the two suspects and said, “Excuse me”, asking the suspect to move. The suspect replied with a remark to the effect that he was “not one of Hamlin’s girls”, and to “stop pushing (him)”. Hamlin and the suspect began shoving each other, and Hamlin struck the suspect in the face. At that time, the second suspect approached the scene and began fighting with other people at the scene.
At some point, one of the suspects was seen hitting Hamlin at least once (possibly twice) with a magnetic street sign. At that time (the police report lists the time of incident as 2:04 a.m.), police arrived and began dispersing the crowd. One officer approached Hamlin, who was surrounded by various individuals who were trying to render aid. Hamlin was lying on the ground, and was not able to remember what had happened. He complained of severe pain in his head, neck and chest areas.
Police have apparently not apprehended either suspect at this time, although a redacted version of the police report would seem to imply that some witnesses knew the names of the suspects..
There was no word about Hamlin's recovery timetable from a football perspective. Quite obviously, the main concern is for Hamlin's overall health.
Please stay tuned to Seahawks.NET for more details as they become available.