When I came across a shocking and disturbing scene while flipping channels one week ago, I was in a wistful mood as I contemplated the end of the holidays and my return to work the next day. The scene was not so shocking initially. The National Football League game was stopped due to a player injury, something that is not uncommon at all. The number of players milling around on the field, seemingly every member of both teams, signaled to me that this injury was not the result of a run-of-the-mill injury. It suggested that he was seriously injured. As quickly as possible it was. The commentators were shocked into uncharacteristic reticence and used hushed and horrified voices while commenting on what was happening on the field. I found out that Hamlin collapsed after getting up after a tackle. I had a couple of thoughts as the cardiopulmonary intervention on Hamlin went on for so long. I was shocked to hear that Hamlin was dead. He may have died on the field. It was not known at the time if Hamlin had died from lack of blood flow or if he had suffered irreversible brain damage, as he spent several days on a ventilator. According to recent reports, he has been removed from the ventilator and is talking to his family and teammates.

Do you know what my second thought was? I was half-tempted to leave a lot of space after this paragraph to give readers a chance to guess, but instead I will just tell you my second thought: Have antivaxxers started blaming Hamlin's Cardiac Arrest on vaccines yet?

It turned out that they had. Hamlin collapsed at about 8:55PM. He was resuscitated for nine minutes and was down for 19 minutes before an ambulance took him off the field and to the hospital.

Let's take a look at the social networking site.

The time was 9:12PM.

Drew Pinsky) is a doctor. At 9:08 PM, the doctor was even quicker off the mark.

I will give Dr. Drew a pat on the back. He was a smart person. He didn't blame vaccines for Hamlin's death. It was definitely an antivax dog whistle, as Dr. Drew is aware of the antivax narrative that blames sudden cardiac arrest and/or death in a young person on the vaccine. It looked like "died suddenly" and "dropped suddenly" A number of doctors noticed that and took Dr. Drew to task.

You know exactly what you're doing here, and it's despicable.

— Tyler Black, MD (@tylerblack32) January 3, 2023

For real? Did you not see the blunt trauma immediately preceding the fall?

— Rachel Alter, MPH (@RachelAlter007) January 3, 2023

Within an hour, bigger names in the social media world were weighing in as well.

This is a tragic and all too familiar sight right now: Athletes dropping suddenly.

— Charlie Kirk (@charliekirk11) January 3, 2023

I mentioned two things at the time. When I see news of young person collapsing and possibly dying unexpectedly, one of my first thoughts is to wonder if antivaxers have started to blame vaccines. They have. It's always about the vaccine. The vaccine has always been the focus. The vaccines will always be the focus.

I realized as the week went on that antivaxxers had been waiting for Hamlin to collapse. While it is true that they had been claiming that COVID-19 vaccines have been responsible for a wave of thousands, if not millions, of people who died suddenly due to clot, to the point where they had even produced an antivaccine conspiracy movie, they had actually produced an antivac They were ready to pounce when Damar Hamlin collapsed a week ago, because one of these has been built up over the last fourteen months.

I thought it would be useful to describe how this narrative came about and who produced it. Some of what I write will be familiar to those who follow my other site, but what I want to do is put the antivax misinformation that arose from Hamlin's cardiac arrest into some perspective. The narrative of young people dying suddenly because of vaccines has been around for a long time before the Pandemic. An anonymous website associated with a publisher known for spreading antivaccine misinformation created a different version of the dying suddenly narrative. I want to explain how the old "died suddenly" narrative gave birth to the new COVID-19 version, how the specific variant about young athletes "dying suddenly" because of vaccines was created and built up throughout 2022, and how the antivax narrative about Damar Hamlin was created and built

Commotio cordis is the first thing we are going to start with.

Commotio cordis: Cardiac arrest due to a blow to the chest

It was thought by emergency room doctors and trauma surgeons that the most likely cause of Hamlin's collapse was commotio cordis. When a blow to the chest can disrupt the heart rhythm, it's called a phenomenon. It isn't common but it is a phenomenon. When a cardiac arrest happens outside of the hospital, it has a high mortality rate and survival is related to how quickly effective cardiopulmonary resuscitation and electrical cardioversion are given. There was a 2012 review article.

Approximately 10 to 20 cases are added to the Commotio Cordis Registry yearly.3,4 Until the late 1990s, commotio cordis was only rarely reported. It is thought that this increase in the number of cases is not due to an increase in incidence but rather to a greater awareness based on the 1995 New England Journal of Medicine report on commotio cordis.2 Many more cases of commotio cordis are now recognized as such. Indeed, what was thought to be a uniquely North American phenomenon is increasingly being reported in countries outside the United States.5

Commotio cordis primarily affects young individuals, generally in adolescence. In the Registry, the mean age is 15 years4; there have been very few commotio cordis victims over the age of 20 years. It traditionally has been thought that the stiffening of the chest wall contributes to this decrease in incidence in older individuals; however, this decreased incidence in those over 20 years of age is likely also influenced by the reduced ball-related sports participation by older individuals. Victims are overwhelmingly male. A partial explanation for the overwhelming predominance of males is that they populate the majority of sports in which commotio occurs, but it appears unlikely that the 95% predilection for males reflects a 95% incidence of chest wall impact in sports and activities of daily living. I suspect that there may also be some gender-related biological susceptibility to chest wall impact induced sudden cardiac death. Indeed, other arrhythmic conditions demonstrate a gender predilection for arrhythmia, including females with long-QT syndrome6,7 and males with Brugada syndrome.8 Genetic differences in ion channels between the sexes or biological modification of these channels by sex hormones may be involved in the male susceptibility to commotio cordis.

When I was doing trauma surgery back in the 1990s, I used to see a lot of people who had suffered a cardiac contusion because of a blow to the heart. If the blow lands at a specific point in the cardiac electrical cycle, it is more likely to cause commotio cordis.

If a severe chest impact occurs within the narrow risk window, there is a chance of an electrical malfunction. There is a page from the encyclopedia.

The history of a blow to the chest makes it less likely that this is the case. Some noted that as well.

While not impossible, HOCM is much less likely in a professional athlete at this level. Medical exams are incredibly thorough before being drafted or signed by an NFL team.

— Dave Konopka (@Dave_Konopka) January 3, 2023

We routinely require sports physicals on children and adolescents before they are allowed to participate in school sports in order to screen them for conditions known of sudden arrhythmic death syndrome. Imagine how much more thorough the medical evaluation is for athletes before they are signed. The main point is that the collapse of Damar Hamlin was so unlikely to be due to vaccine injury that anti-vaxers immediately put vaccine injury at the top of the list. We can say with a high degree of confidence, based on what we know now, that vaccines did not cause Hamlin to attempt to die suddenly.

How the antivax narrative about Damar Hamlin evolved

The antivax narrative changed as more and more reporting suggested that Hamlin might have had a blow to his chest. It couldn't possibly have been the cause of Hamlin's collapse due to the fact that commotio cordis is incredibly rare. Alex Berenson was at the forefront of pushing this narrative based on a cherry picked article after Hamlin's arrest.

I don’t even want to talk about any of this tonight. @HamlinIsland should be the only focus. But to see people ALREADY trying to spin this, and to announce what questions are and are not to okay to ask, is sickening. ENOUGH.

— Alex Berenson (@AlexBerenson) January 3, 2023

The spin is getting started. People are already trying to spin this. Projection is all these people can do, and they were trying to "spin this" to be about vaccines after Hamnlin collapsed. The same passage was quoted from the 2012 review article that I did above, but it was spun in a different way.

It didn't take long for me to discover that commotio cordis is under-diagnosed.

Although commotio cordis usually involves impact from a baseball, it has also been reported during hockey, softball, lacrosse, karate, and other sports activities in which a relatively hard and compact projectile or bodily contact caused impact to the person’s precordium. While only 216 instances have been reported to the US Commotio Cordis Registry (as of 2012), [4, 5] this is probably a considerable underestimation of its true incidence since this entity still goes unrecognized in many instances and continues to be underreported.

If you didn't get it the first time, we'll give you a second chance.

Approximately 15-25 commotio cordis deaths are added to the US Commotio Cordis Registry every year. [14] The actual incidence is, in all likelihood, considerably greater because of lack of recognition and underreporting.

Nope, that's right. It doesn't mean that Hamlin couldn't have been the victim of commotio cordis.

Although reported in a wide range of ages (6 wk to 50 y), commotio cordis occurs most frequently in male children aged 10-18 years, with a mean age of 15 ± 9 years. Data from the US Commotio Cordis Registry show that 26% are younger than 10 years and 75% are younger than 18 years. [5]

It wouldn't be rare compared to the total incidence of commotio cordis for it to happen to a 24 year old, because Hamlin's age is at the upper range of the mean age plus.

The antivax narrative was revived by Dr. Robert and Dr. Peter. Let's start with a man.

What we do know – is that it's not normal for an elite specimen that is only 24-years old to have a heart attack on the field. And he's not the only elite athlete dropping. This is status quo and seemingly accelerating.

— Thomas Sowell's Warrior (@415GoldIsValue) January 3, 2023

You can't assume that those known preconditions weren't present.

Autopsy of those with fatal commotio cordis typically shows normal cardiac morphology. Small oval or circular abrasions or bruises are often noted over the precordium, primarily over the left ventricle. In general, there’s no evidence of rib fractures, hemothorax, hemopericardium, external myocardial contusion; no congenital or acquired structural entities known to predispose young people and athletes to sudden death; no evidence for aortic rupture or traumatic injury; and no evidence of either damage or thrombosis of the coronary arteries.

The doctors of the National Football League probably wouldn't have found anything that would make Hamlin susceptible to commotio cordis. Yesterday and last night the antivax narrative continued to evolve.

Dr. Peter McCullough was quoted in an update to a Substack that was published at 7:54 PM, which is less than two hours after Hamlin collapsed on national TV.

I watched the play live both as a fan and a cardiologist and I saw blunt neck and chest trauma, a brief recovery after the tackle and then a classic cardiac arrest. I have communicated to one of the most experienced trainers in the world and we agree that it was a cardiac arrest in the setting of a big surge of adrenalin. If Damar Hamlin indeed took one of the COVID-19 vaccines, then subclinical vaccine-induced myocarditis must be considered in the differential diagnosis.

Also, according to the author.

Note that McCullough originally speculated that the injury that Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin was due to commotio cordis (a phenomenon in which a sudden blunt impact to the chest causes sudden death in the absence of cardiac damage). The time delay from the hit until he collapsed is expected in commotio cordis.

Initially, I suggested that the most likely diagnosis was commotio cordis, but then realized that it would be better to blame vaccines for the disease.

Peter believes that the ventricular tachycardia and ventricular fibrillation could have been set up by the vaccine if he took it.

He would take it. If a game is canceled due to a COVID-19 outbreak, it will be forfeited by the team, despite the fact that the league never imposed a vaccine mandate on its players. The league said that 98% of its players and personnel have been vaccine free.

The narrative combined the fear mongering about the small risk of myocarditis in young men with the whole false "died suddenly" conspiracy narrative, but cleverly made it a "just asking questions" sort of wild speculation. He didn't have to say it out loud. After the appearance in antivax Substacks of links to a case of two rugby players who died after a blow to the chest, he knew that his jaqing off would be transformed into assertions.

Myocarditis may increase the risk of life-threatening ventricular arrhythmias caused by blunt impact to the chest, particularly in contact sports. Screening and prevention measures should be considered to reduce this risk.

In the world of antivaccine misinformation, "might" quickly became "does", and the fact that only two cases were included in the study, made it less than a case series. I will cite a recent article in order to explain the problem.

Histologic findings are almost always normal. There’s typically no evidence of acute or chronic myocardial infarction, infection, or inflammation, nor evidence of active or healed myocarditis or arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy. Hemorrhage has been reported in the anterior left ventricular wall and in the A-V node and specialized conduction system, but the significance of these findings is uncertain.

There is no evidence of heart inflammation, acute or chronic, which is consistent with the current theory of a blow to the chest disrupting the rhythm of the heart. It is unsurprising that histologic findings in the hearts of young athletes who die of commotio cordis are stone cold normal. Antivaxxers cherry picked two patient case series that speculated that a history of myocarditis might cause athletes to suffer from commotio cordis and that it must have been vaccine-caused. It is possible to accept medical findings that myocarditis associated with COVID-19 vaccines is uncommon and nearly always mild and self- limited.

Antivaxxers couldn't get their stories straight. It was almost impossible to cause commotio cordis with a shoulder pad hit to the chest because shoulder pads are designed to absorb such a shock.

We don’t have to be equivocal and say it probably wasn’t Commotio Cordis. I can say with 100% scientific and clinical confidence that such a scenario (right shoulder pad hitting left precordium as I saw on multiple replays) is virtually impossible and cannot be deduced conclusively the night of the incident. This has never before occurred in 103 years of NFL.

Is Dr. Verma saying that Dr. McCullough doesn't know what he's talking about? The fight was vicious. Dr. Verma says with 100% scientific and clinical confidence that it's "virtually impossible" to get commotio cordis. It is a sign of pseudoscience and quackery to be so confident in your own statements. Even though commotio cordis is rare, that wouldn't mean that Hamlin didn't suffer from it. It would be expected that even a rare tragic event like this would become close to inevitable because of the thousands of hits to the players of the National Football League. When the numbers are large enough, there will be rare events.

It didn't take long, when it was still uncertain if Hamlin would live or if he would suffer brain damage due to low blood flow after his cardiac arrest, to start weaving conspiracy theories.

On the negative front: There is ZERO chance the NFL lets the family have an autopsy performed for possible link to vaccine. If it showed a link and that information became public, the league would probably shut down the rest of the year at least since every player would be considered a ticking time bomb. Players Association will go nuts. I’d say they pay off his family to prevent posthumous analysis if that’s where this ends up.

On January 4th, Dr. Paul Alexander posted on his Substack an article with a headline that read " Pfizer, Moderna and Fauci are indicting them." You can read the whole thing if you want to, but you can also look at his Substack for more of the same. Antivaxxers claimed that the vaccine had given Damar Hamlin myocarditis and that they were covering up the fact that he was a racist. Dr. Alexander was not the only one who made this comparison. Toby Rogers was also a writer.

What Pfizer did to Damar Hamlin is the same thing that Derek Chauvin did to George Floyd — 9 minutes without breath.

But there will be no statement from the NAACP, Black Lives Matter, Southern Poverty Law Center, the Democratic Party, nor the NFL Player’s Association about the shots that stopped Damar Hamlin’s heart. Such a possibility does not even cross their minds. It’s unthinkable.

The internal mental colonization is so great that most Americans will reach for any excuse, no matter how preposterous, to exonerate the shots.

Pfizer literally killed a Black man (stopped his heart for 9 minutes) on live TV and then told all Americans to shut up if they know what’s good for them.

We don't know how we got here.

How did we get here?

How we got here: Before the pandemic

A lot of people were surprised by how fast the antivaxxers were after Hamlin collapsed. Antivaxxers were speculating about and blaming COVID-19 vaccines as the cause of his cardiac arrest while he was still on the field. Within a day or two, antivaxxers spread their narrative and blamed vaccines for athletes having cardiac arrests and dying.

When something like this happens again, which it will, you shouldn't be surprised because those of us who have been fighting antivaccine misinformation have been doing it for a long time. The antivax narrative is not new, and I want to show that. I will describe how the rise of specific version of this myth that arose shortly after COVID-19 vaccines received emergency use approval, after which I will show how the "variant" of this myth involving the deaths of athletes was not random. It was a carefully planted story that had been nurtured since at least November 2021. At a particularly unfortunate time, the narrative about athletes supposedly having died suddenly due to vaccines had received a new shot in the arm.

Antivax conspiracy narratives have always claimed that vaccines kill. The most recent version of this narrative was a claim that came about immediately after the approval of the vaccine for girls aged 9-26 years old. The later versions of the vaccine covered more types of the human immunodeficiency virus, and the indications were expanded to include females 9 through 45 years of age for the prevention of cervical, vulvar, vaginal, anal, oropharyngeal and other head and neck diseases.

Eight years ago, The Toronto Star published a report suggesting that the death of a 14-year-old girl might have been due to the actions of the Irish police.

…many of the girls say the vaccine was pushed on them by school officials, nurses or doctors who understated the risks, sometimes claiming zero significant side effects despite the existence of a list of rare but serious vaccine-related reactions published by the drug’s maker.

The Star has found the girls’ concerns are not isolated, that in Canada important safety information about the vaccine has not been communicated to many young patients and their parents.

I explained why the tragic story was not evidence of cause and effect. When The Star article was published, her mother had encountered fear mongers on Joseph Mercola's website, leading her to file a lawsuit against the company over her daughter's death. There were other sudden deaths exploited by antivaxers. The death of 18-year-old Jasmine Renata, who was found dead in her bed six months after her last dose of the three-shot series of Gardasil, was exploited by antivaxers, who convinced her mother that the drug did not cause her to die. Three years later, antivax scientist Christopher Shaw testified at a New Zealand inquest that he had found aluminum in her brain tissue and that another antiva had killed her.

Do any of this sounds familiar?

The antivax group made a series of videos on the internet called Sacrificial Virgins, in which they claimed that the death of a German woman was due to the actions of the Irish police.

The point is simple. The vaccine narrative has been around for a long time. The false claim that vaccines cause sudden infant death syndrome was one of the narratives that preceded the "sacrificial virgins" story. The vaccine court ruling was struck down.

Antivaccine tactics such as blaming vaccines for deaths that were clearly due to something else are included in the case. The case of Alan Yurko, in which antivaxxers blamed vaccines for a baby's shaking problem, came to mind. The Free Yurko movement was a disgusting and despicable example of this phenomenon, just as bad as Paul Alexander saying that pharma and the government murdered a black man. Antivaxxers used to compare vaccine mandates to the Holocaust and Nazi war crimes in order to claim that vaccines are a plan to depopulate the earth. The same basic antivax conspiracy theories are used in these types of conspiracy theories.

How did we get here?

How we got here since the pandemic

I have already discussed how antivaxxers have developed a narrative claiming that an epidemic of young, presumably healthy people having died suddenly, arose after governments all over the world undertook mass vaccinations against COVID-19. They weaponized reports of death after the COVID-19 vaccine was made to the VAERS database. The narrative became an updated version of the old antivax chestnut depicting vaccines as a depopulation agenda. One of the antivaxxers promoting the claim that vaccines are causing depopulation during the summer of 2021 was a disgraced cardiologist named Peter Mccullough. This was the first thread that was ready to be woven into the narrative that was about to start.

The second thread came about because of the detection of two safety signals for the COVID-19 vaccine. The association of the vaccines with a rare kind of blood clot in the brain was the first safety signal. The risk was small and the antivax narrative was full of fear. The antivax doctors and embalmers claimed in the thread that they were finding unprecedented numbers and sizes of blood clot in the recently deceased, which led to the antivax conspiracy movie Died Suddenly. People know how to differentiate the two.

The second safety signal was the detection of an elevated risk of myocarditis, a risk that, according to the most recent evidence, is very small. As we have written before, the risk was low and nearly all cases were mild and self-limiting, but thus was born the narrative that vaccines could cause heart attacks and sudden cardiac death.

In the " died suddenly " narrative, these threads were woven into the idea that COVID-19 vaccines are to blame for a lot of sudden cardiac deaths in young people. It might have been enough to lay the groundwork for antivaxxers to blame Hamlin for the deaths of children because of the vaccine. There is no evidence that 80 Canadian doctors died suddenly and were blamed on the vaccine. The conspiracy theories that an unprecedented number of athletes have suddenly died of cardiac arrests are specific to athletes. It is possible that Dr. McCullough spoke to Steve Kirsch the night of Hamlin's death because he has been flogging this theory for months.

It didn't take long for antivaxxers to start responding with links like this one, which claims to be of a "database" of athletes who died suddenly.

His claim was amplified by Tucker Carlson.

Many of the social media posts featured this graph.

Good Sciencing deaths

The athlete was the latest to die of a vaccine. It is absolutely true that not.

This graph comes from a website called Real Science, which has a slogan of "Science needs open discussion, anything else is totalitarian" I will point out the run-on sentence because it pains me to read it. A quick look at the site shows that it is full of misinformation about vaccines, ivermectin, and masks, as well as denial of climate change. 1652 athlete Cardiac Arrests, Serious Issues, 1114 of Them Dead, Since Covid Injection was the specific post that featured the graph above. At the time of Hamlin's collapse, the number of cases that had been added to the website had grown to 1,616 by the time I read it.

I should mention that it was written by anonymous authors.

We are a small team of investigators, news editors, journalists, and truth seekers, now backed up by others, who are discovering pieces of information that we can investigate. It doesn’t really matter who we are. What really matters is that we care carrying on an investigation and we’re presenting the evidence we’ve found, almost all of it documented in mainstream media publications.

We’re doing this anonymously because we’ve seen people viciously attacked and threatened for doing things like this, so we’re not going to open ourselves or any of our contacts to that. Also, please note, we’re not being paid and we’re not making any money from this – it is costing us time, effort, and money. We’re doing it because there is a concerted effort to block all of this information, but as some smart people used to say, “sunlight is the best disinfectant.”

If the sun shone on the identities of the people behind the website, it would be the best way to fight off infections. I immediately suspected that there was a reason why they were hiding their identities. It is more likely that they are part of an organization that has no relevant credentials, training, or experience to carry out the analysis they claim to be doing. It's obvious from their analysis. They are more likely to be political operatives and propaganda specialists.

The very first version of this post was found by Archive.org. It was listed as an update and implied that there was at least one earlier version of the post that was never archived. At that time there were only 77 athletes listed, with the title of the post being " 77 athletes suffer cardiac arrest, 28 die, after carbon shot"

There is an interesting thing here. The website was cited last summer by Dr. Pierre Kory, who claimed that athletes were dying from vaccine-related diseases.

According to the study, 617 players with sudden cardiac events were reported from 67 countries over a three year period, with 142 of them surviving their arrests. It was only for soccer players and not all athletes.

There is another intriguing thing. Remember that study that was peer reviewed? You won't be surprised to learn that "peer-reviewed" is doing a lot of heavy lifting here, as is "study", but what is interesting is that it is a letter to the editor of the journal. That in and of itself is uninteresting. The GoodSciencing.com post was cited as the source for the claims of 1,598 deaths among young athletes. Polykretis and McCullough compare these deaths to a 2006 study that found 1,101 reports of sudden cardiac death in athletes over the course of 38 years.

Antivaxxers compare apples to oranges. The 2006 study used strict inclusion criteria to identify cases of cardiac events among athletes younger than 35 years old. As Dr. Eric Burnett pointed out, then.

Now, bc this is a systematic analysis, they have strict definitions of what an athlete is and what constitutes SCD. Of note they only looked at young athletes < 35 y/o pic.twitter.com/MAhYcQZUMh

— Eric Burnett, MD (@Doctor_Eric_B) January 5, 2023

Now if @P_McCulloughMD is going to make a direct comparison to this study population he is going to have to stick to the strict definitions as outlined above. So which peer reviewed source or official SCD registry did he use for his comparison? pic.twitter.com/VFgdxOhlag

— Eric Burnett, MD (@Doctor_Eric_B) January 5, 2023

If you look at this list many people are older than 35, many aren’t athletes, and some didn’t even die. And not all that died had died from SCD. Here are some examples.

— Eric Burnett, MD (@Doctor_Eric_B) January 5, 2023

I found a lot of questionable entries when I first read the post. Many of the athletes were over the age of 35. A brief scroll down the list showed that the antivax blog had included.

  • Mike Leach, a 61-year-old football coach who suffered a heart attack in his home (as if 61 year olds never suffered heart attacks in their homes before the vaccine).
  • Antonis Mandalos, a 60-year-old Olympiakos Volos Football (soccer, for my US readers) player for 18 years and then coach, who collapsed due to a cardiac arrest.
  • Tommy Kloza, the 65-year-old “popular owner of a long-standing gym in Rhode Island,” who “died “suddenly” and “unexpectedly” in the gym car park.” (I note that the use of the term “car park” strongly suggests that the anonymous antivaxxers who wrote the article are British or Australian, as in the US we would say “parking lot.”)

I could go on and on and on, but I won't because others have done the same thing. A 19-year-old went on a swim on his own in Thousand Island Lake in California in order to reach one of the islands. He didn't survive. It is as if no one had ever underestimated his swimming ability before and he died trying to swim too far in a cold lake. A person who died after a recent decline may have been a body builder. You aren't "healthy" if you're on dialysy. The third was a sprinter who took his own life. There are athletes who died of suicide, car crashes, drowns, cancer, and even falling off of a cliff. Many were older than 25, some a lot older and quite a few having no longer been athletes for decades.

They are continuing to add to the list.

An unfortunate coincidence leads to a tsunami of astroturfed disinformation

I have shown that the false narrative about a supposedly unprecedented wave of cardiac arrests and deaths among young, healthy athletes is a lie. There was an increase in antivax fear mongers after Dr. McCullough published his letter to the editor. Even though it was obvious that commotio cordis was the cause of Hamlin's collapse, antivaxxers wasted no time in seizing on it.

The person who started this story? GoodSciencing.com is arguably the most prominent source and has been adding to its list at least since November of 2011. The people behind the website seem to have been identified. Lead Stories used Gravatar to find out who was behind GoodSciencing.com. If you like the details of how this was done, you can read the investigation in its entirety. The email addresses were found in the contact information published on websites associated with NewsBlaze.

The Grays are behind GoodSciencing.com.

  • Alan Gray is the CEO and editor-in-chief of NewsBlaze.
  • The “admin” user on goodsciencing.com uses an email address from a NewsBlaze-owned domain name.
  • The same email address is used on accounts for several other websites connected to Alan Gray and to NewsBlaze.
  • “Alan Gray” on Telegram and NewsBlaze Australia on Twitter were among the earliest to promote the site.
  • NewsBlaze was communicating with a known anti-vaccine activist on Twitter only weeks before goodsciencing.com went live.

The use of a car park instead of a parking lot is consistent with the Grays being behind GoodSciencing.com. NewsBlaze is a questionable source due to it's extreme right bias, promotion of propaganda and conspiracy theories as well as the use of poor sources. I came across an article that claimed that there is a " simple cure" for COVID-19 and that there is no need for a vaccine. NewsBlaze is a major Australian source when it comes to COVID-19 and antivaccine misinformation.

The event that caused the perfect storm of antivax misinformation was the cardiac arrest of Damar Hamlin. On the last night of a long holiday season, when a lot of people were off work, it happened on national TV. The conspiracy theory that there had been a huge increase in the number of young athletes dying suddenly since early 2021, when the mass vaccine against COVID-19 really happened, was resurrected by Dr. McCullough after he became the most recent antivaxxer. The bottom line is that Damar Hamlin collapsed on January 2, but antivaxxers had been preparing for him to die for at least a year before he ever set foot on the field. They took full advantage of the situation, even before the doctors and medics had done their job.

If you want to know why I thought antivaxxers had started blaming vaccines, now you know. I don't like it that this is how I think when I see a potential tragedy.