In a six-minute video released on Saturday, Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin spoke at length for the first time since suffering a near-fatal cardiac arrest after making a tackle in a Week 17 game against the Cincinnati Bengals. In the intro to the video, Hamlin explains that he waited to speak until the time was right, explaining that his situation was difficult to deal with mentally, physically and spiritually while citing the end of the Bills season. .
Hamlin began by expressing his gratitude and appreciation for the support given to him, before thanking a large number of people and groups.
“What happened to me on Monday Night Football, I think, is a direct example of God using me as a vehicle to share my passion and my love straight from my heart with the whole world,” Hamlin said. “And now I can give it back to children and communities around the world who need it most. It’s always been my dream, it’s what I’ve always stood for and what I will continue to stand for.”
Hamlin then thanked the Bills’ coaching, athletic and medical staff as well as staff at UC Medical Center and Buffalo General Hospital, all of whom were involved in his life-saving treatment and aftercare. Hamlin then thanked his mom and dad, baby brother and other family and friends before thanking the Bills fan base.
“Since becoming a Buffalo Bill, it’s been nothing but genuine love and support. Not just for me, but everyone’s situation,” Hamlin said. “No matter what it was, Bills Mafia jumped behind and gave 110% support, love, no matter what. With that, I felt nothing less than love. And it really helped keep me encouraged through the toughest times and the toughest times. I really can’t thank you enough.
Hamlin then thanked his Bills teammates before thanking the City of Cincinnati, the Cincinnati Bengals and the rest of the NFL for the outpouring of support that was evident in the days and week of football that followed. Hamlin’s medical episode.
“You put humanity above team loyalty. You showed the world unity rather than division,” Hamlin said. “I’m not surprised, but I’m deeply grateful and will always be grateful and indebted for that.”
Finally, Hamlin thanked the children who sent him letters and gifts during his recovery, and he also thanked those who donated to the Chasing M’s Foundation. The Foundation, which Hamlin started before his NFL career to give back to children in his native Western Pennsylvania, received nearly $8 million in donations after his near-fatal injury.
“This is just the beginning of the impact I wanted to have on the world,” Hamlin said in closing. “And with God’s direction, I will continue to do wonderful, great things. I couldn’t do it without support and love, and I look forward to continuing to take you all on this journey with me.”
Midway through the first quarter of the Bills’ Week 17 game against the Bengals, Hamlin collided with Tee Higgins as he tackled the Bengals’ star receiver after a 13-yard gain. Hamlin immediately collapsed as he got up, prompting the Bills’ medical staff to administer emergency medical treatment. Hamlin was taken off the field by ambulance and transported to UC Medical Center after receiving CPR and automated external defibrillation (AED), where he remained in critical condition for some time. The game was abandoned and never resumed.
Hamlin, a sixth-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, has started 13 games this season in place of an injured Micah Hyde.