Local educator attends Bills-Bengals game, describes experience

The Buffalo Bills and the Cincinnati Bengals take a knee after Hamlin collapsed on the field
The Buffalo Bills and the Cincinnati Bengals take a knee after Hamlin collapsed on the field
Published: Jan. 3, 2023 at 6:48 PM CST
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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - A local educator was among the more than 65-thousand fans in attendance at Paycor stadium in Cincinnati last night.

Lorey Pipkorn is a teacher at Patronis Elementary in Panama City. She was raised in the Cincinnati area and remains a rabid Bengals fan!

“My father, my families had Bengals tickets since the year they started in 1968,” Pipkorn said. “So I grew up going to Bengals games and I’m a diehard fan. My dad lives in Cape San Blas and still flies up for most of the home games. And this was my game to come up here with him. W Well it was incredible there was so much energy in the stadium. And before the game started there were some of our biggest players from the 80s, Anthony Munoz, Max Montoya, they were there signing autographs. My hat is signed. And so there was so much energy and everyone was so excited for this giant game so it was huge, there was so much energy so much excitement!”

Eight minutes into the first quarter, the play-on which Damar Hamlin was injured occurred, and Lorey says everything in the stadium changed dramatically!

“The information we were getting was kind of piecemeal from people around us that had phones,” Pipkorn continued. “Who saw things from people at home. It was pretty quick that we realized that it was, like you said, guys go down but then they get up. Or guys go down and they bring out the stretcher. But he went down and they brought out a stretcher. And then the ambulance came but they didn’t load him on the ambulance. So we knew it was something serious. And you could just see the grief on the players faces.”

After more than an hour of waiting in the stands, Lorey and other fans found out the game had been suspended, and left the stadium.

“It was heartbreaking, the stands were silent. They were absolutely silent, everyone was just together. You saw people visibly praying. People were really shaken up, and the basic feeling amongst the fans was it really didn’t matter anymore whether the Bengals won or the Bills won. It mattered how he was!”

Lorey flew home Tuesday afternoon, she’d gone up just for the game.