Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin has declared he’s ready to resume playing football, four months after suffering cardiac arrest on the field during a game at Cincinnati. Speaking at a news conference at the team’s facility, Hamlin stated that this event was life-changing, but it’s not the end of his story, and that he plans on making a comeback to the NFL.
General manager Brandon Beane confirmed that Hamlin has been fully cleared to play and is attending the team’s voluntary workout program, the latest and biggest steps in the 25-year-old’s remarkable recovery. The clearance came after Hamlin met with a third and final specialist on Friday, with all three being in agreement that Hamlin can resume playing without any fear of setbacks or complications.
Hamlin’s collapse on the field led to an outpouring of support from around the NFL and across North America, with donations made to Hamlin’s charitable organization topping more than $9 million. The second-year player spent nearly 10 days recovering in hospitals in Cincinnati and Buffalo before being released.
He eventually began visiting the Bills’ facility and attended the team’s season-ending 27-10 loss to Cincinnati in the divisional round of the playoffs. Hamlin has since made numerous appearances around the country, including meeting with President Joe Biden last month.
Biden posted a tweet on the visit that read: “Hamlin’s courage, resilience, and spirit inspired the American people. And what’s more: he turned recovery into action — and our country is better for it.” Hamlin’s visit to Washington came as part of his desire to back a bill that would increase access to defibrillators in public and private elementary and secondary schools.
During the Super Bowl festivities in Arizona in February, he received the NFLPA’s Alan Page Community Award. He also took part in a pregame ceremony in which the NFL honored the Bills’ and Bengals’ training and medical staffs and first responders who treated him.
Hamlin collapsed after making what appeared to be a routine tackle in the first quarter of a Jan. 2 game against the Bengals. His collapse led to an outpouring of support from around the NFL and across North America, with donations made to Hamlin’s charitable organization topping more than $9 million.
Hamlin’s recovery is personal to many who watched in shock as he collapsed on the field on a nationally televised “Monday Night Football” game, but moreso for Beane. While the Bills returned home after the game initially was suspended and eventually canceled, Beane spent the first four days at Hamlin’s side, including when he was awakened from a medically induced coma at the University Cincinnati Medical Center.
“He’s such a great kid and has such a great family, and it’s exciting to go from a guy who was fighting for his life to now,” Beane said. “His story hasn’t been written. Now it’s about his comeback.”
Hamlin said the specialists agreed that his heart stopped as a result of commotio cordis, which is a direct blow at a specific point in a heartbeat that causes cardiac arrest.
Hamlin’s teammates were elated to see him back in the facility working out. “D-Ham is a special person, a beautiful soul,” fellow safety Micah Hyde said. “I look up to him, especially how he’s bounced back after facing adversity. A little scary. But to see him well and in the building and move around a little bit, it gives you a little energy.”
Hamlin’s recovery is a true testament to his resilience and determination. His story is not only about his personal comeback to the NFL but also about his contribution to raising awareness about cardiac arrest and defibrillator access.