Damar Hamlin cleared to play, 4 months after cardiac arrest

ORCHARD PARK, NY (AP) — After spending several months meeting with President Joe Biden, raising millions for his charitable foundation and promoting the benefits of CPR training, Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin, can now focus on the next big goal of his life: returning to football.

Dressed in a red wool beanie and a blue Bills sweater, Hamlin sat on the podium on Tuesday and said his heart – the one that stopped beating about four months ago during a game in Cincinnati – was, as he put it, “still in the game”.

“It was a life-changing event, but it’s not the end of my story,” Hamlin said. “I plan to make a comeback to the NFL.”

Speaking to reporters for the first time since his cardiac arrest and resuscitation on the pitch, Hamlin reflected on the anxious times he endured, his inner will not to let fear get in his way, and how he no longer takes a minute of his life for granted.

“The ‘wow’ moment is every day to be able to wake up and breathe deeply and live a peaceful life, to have a family and people around me who love me,” said Hamlin, who was medically cleared to play and participates in the beginning of the voluntary training program of the Bills.

“They almost lost me. Like I died on national television, you know what I mean? he added. “So that’s the biggest blessing of all of this, for me to still have my people, and my people still have me.”

General manager Brandon Beane announced earlier today that Hamlin had been medically cleared to return to football after the 25-year-old met with a third and final specialist on Friday. All three agreed that Hamlin could return to play without fear of setbacks or complications. While the Bills had their head athletic coach in those meetings, Beane said the team followed the lead of the specialists.

“He’s a great kid and he has a great family, and it’s exciting to go from a guy who was fighting for his life to today,” Beane said. “His story has not been written. Now it’s about his return.

Hamlin said specialists agreed his heart stopped following a commotio cordis, which is a direct blow to a specific point in a heartbeat that causes cardiac arrest.

His next steps will be no different than any other NFL player in his bid to earn a spot on the roster. Hamlin will return to the field when the team’s voluntary spring training begins next month, followed by mandatory practices in June and then a training camp at the end of July.

His teammates were delighted to see him back at the facility training.

“D-Ham is a special person, a beautiful soul,” said fellow security Micah Hyde. “I admire him, especially how he bounced back after dealing with adversity. A little scary. But seeing him well and in the building and moving a bit, it gives you a bit of energy.”

Hamlin’s recovery is personal for many who watched in shock as Hamlin collapsed on the field during a nationally televised “Monday Night Football” game, but more so for Beane. As the Bills returned home after the game was initially suspended and later called off, Beane spent the first four days alongside Hamlin, including when he was awakened from a medically induced coma. at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center.

“It was about his health, and it will always be about his health,” Beane said. “But for really, you know, even though many months later to talk about his complete disappearance is pretty remarkable. And I’m thrilled for him and his family where they’re at in his journey.

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 prompted an outpouring of support from across the NFL and across North America, with donations made to Hamlin’s charity exceeding $9 million.

Sophomore from suburban Pittsburgh McKee’s Rock spent nearly 10 days recovering in hospitals in Cincinnati and Buffalo before being released. He eventually began visiting Bills facilities and witnessed the team’s 27-10 loss to the Bengals in the Divisional Round of the playoffs.

Hamlin recalled watching football on TV while lying in his hospital bed in Cincinnati when the thought of playing again came to mind.

“Just watching teams play, watching other safeties play, that’s when I saw and felt my love for the game,” he said. “That’s when I was just like, ‘I don’t want to be done with this yet.'”

Hamlin said specialists informed him that returning to football could have mental health benefits, including enjoying the camaraderie of being among teammates.

“I just take it one day at a time. This is where I am in this process. Every time I try to think too far ahead, it gets cloudy,” he said. “I have a long way to go, but I commit to it every day.”

Hamlin has since made numerous appearances across the country, including a meeting with Biden last month.

Biden posted a tweet about the visit that read, “Hamlin’s courage, resilience and spirit have inspired the American people. And what’s more: he turned recovery into action — and our country is better off for it.

Hamlin’s visit to Washington is part of the player’s desire to support a bill that would increase access to defibrillators in public and private elementary and secondary schools.

During Super Bowl festivities in Arizona in February, he received the NFLPA’s Alan Page Community Award.. He also took part in a pregame ceremony where the NFL honored Bills and Bengals coaching and medical staff and first responders who treated him.


AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/nfl And https://twitter.com/AP_NFL

Leave a Comment