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Damar Hamlin’s Incredible Journey

Written by on January 7, 2023

(Last Updated on Jan. 29, 2023) On Monday night, the energy was palpable in Cincinnati as their Bengals took on the Buffalo Bills before the unexpected happened. Buffalo Bill’s free safety Damar Hamlin returned to his feet after tackling a Bengals wide receiver. Not long after, he would collapse on the field, unconscious, without breath. 

A hush covered Paycor stadium, as teammates and fans alike were stunned. Not long after, Bill’s teammates would huddle around Hamlin in a moment of prayer, before medics rushed him to the hospital. 

Due to the CPR that was performed on Hamlin immediately after his collapse, later diagnosed as a cardiac arrest, he was able to be revieved on the field and begin his road towards full recovery. 

Earlier on Wednesday night, Damar Hamlin awoke for the first time since his cardiac arrest on Monday. Through writing, his very first question was who won the game. Doctors at UC Health at the University of Cincinnati would reply with these words: “Yes, you won. You’ve won the game of life.

Since then, he has been removed from the hospital and shown continuous signs of improvement.  

On Saturday morning, Damar Hamlin himself would issue his first public statement since his collapse on that fateful night.

“The love has been overwhelming, but I’m thankful for every single person that prayed for me and reached out. We brung the world back together behind this. If you know me you know this only gone make me stronger. On a long road keep praying for me!”

-Damar Hamlin (Instagram)

Professor of Clinical at UC Health Timothy A Pritts, MD, Ph.D. was happy to see all of the progress that has come forth following Monday night’s event, but he still believes that there’s still more that must be done. 

“From our standpoint, we would like to see him continue to improve, completely breath on his own, and be ready to be discharged from the hospital,” Pritts said. “His family has been with him at his bedside, as members of the Buffalo Bills organization really since this all began, and we just want him to get home to them.” 

On the night of the incident, Former NFL Player Ryan Clark spoke on the weight of this event from an NFL athlete’s perspective during Scott Van Pelt’s segment on ESPN. 

“The same way Damar Hamlin woke up today, ready to just put on his pads and play a football game, that’s what everybody in the Cincinnati Bengal’s locker room did as well,” Clark said. “They understand that could be them.” 

NFL players across the league also expressed their thoughts and prayers for Hamlin following his cardiac arrest. 

Cardinals’ defensive end J.J. Watt used Twitter to cement the importance of humanity over football, posting that:  “The game is not important. Damar Hamlin’s life is important. Please be ok. Please.” 

Former NFL quarterback Robert Griffin III posted “No one cares about this game at all anymore. Praying for Damar Hamlin the man, the son, the brother, and the friend.” 

Even outside of the NFL world, sports organizations like the Boston Bruins are sending encouragement to Damar Hamlin and his family. 

“We join the sports world in keeping Damar Hamlin and his family, friends, and teammates in our thoughts,” the Bruin’s official Twitter page posted. 

Even athletes like LeBron James had words of encouragement and solidarity following Monday night’s events. 

“I wish nothing but the best for that kid, for the city of Buffalo, for the Bills franchise, and the NFL,” James said. 

Over on Twitter, the accounts of all 32 NFL teams had changed their profile pictures to an image of Hamlin’s jersey number three, with the words above reading “Pray for Damar.” 

Since then, the NFL themselves would go even farther, announcing on Friday that they would address Hamlin, first responders and medical caregivers that aided him before the national anthem. They also announced that they would add a number three patch to the Buffalo Bills jerseys, create new warm up shirts dedicated to Hamlin and his number three jersey number, and give all 32 NFL teams the option to outline the number three in each of their 30 yard lines. 

For anyone following this event who wants to help, there is a way. 

Hamlin currently has a GoFundMe page aimed at giving toys to children for the holiday season. There has been a huge wave of support geared towards his page the collapse, with supporters raising over $9 million dollars in the time since. 

Right after the spike in donations, which began on the night of Hamlin’s collapse, GoFundMe’s official Twitter account recognized this act as a positive way to support Hamlin and his family during this unprecedented and difficult time. They tweeted “Following his injury on the field tonight, fans across the country are shaking their support for him and his family by donating to his fundraiser.” 

Since Hamlin’s collapse and subsequent recovery, the Bills continued their season, ultimately losing to the Cincinatti Bengals in the AFC Divisional Round 27-10. Despite the loss however, Hamlin tweeted out “We’ll be back… don’t even trip.”

Updates will come in whenever more information is available.

(Featured image captured from Damar Hamlin’s Instagram (@d.ham3) linked here )