Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin collapsed on the field during the first quarter against the Cincinnati Bengals on January 2 and was later revealed to have suffered cardiac arrest. The athlete later broke his silence following the scary ordeal and has since been released from the hospital.
Damar has showcased great progress since then and even presented the Tillman Award for Service to the Buffalo Bills training staff at the 2023 ESPYS. The touching moment moved attendees, viewers and fans as the big moment brought him to tears.
Keep reading for updates about the athlete’s condition.
What Is Damar Hamlin’s Injury Update?
The Buffalo Bills updated fans about Damar’s condition on January 6, 2023, via Twitter, noting that he is now “able to talk.”
“Per the physicians at UCMC, Damar’s breathing tube was removed overnight,” the team’s statement read. “He continues to progress remarkably in his recovery. His neurologic function remains intact and he has been able to talk to his family and care team.”
More than one month later, Damar publicly spoke for the first time since his tragic tragedy. He was awarded the Player’s Association’s Alan Page Community Award on February 8, 2023, and was able to accept the honor in person.
During his acceptance speech, Damar thanked the attendees in the building, God and his fellow nominees.
“One of my favorite quotes: ‘It’s a blessing to be a blessing,’” he said. “With that being said, I plan to never take this position for granted and always have an urgent approach in making a difference in the community where I come from and also communities across the world. Thank you.”
Prior to his amazing recovery, the Bills released a statement via their official Twitter page on Thursday, January 5, saying that the 24-year-old safety was “making steady progress.”
“Per the physicians caring for Damar Hamlin at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, Damar has shown remarkable improvement over the past 24 hours. While still critically ill, he has demonstrated that he appears to be neurologically intact,” the team’s statement noted, adding that his “lungs continue to heal.”
Damar’s agent, Rob Butler, told CNN later that day that the NFL star is awake and holding hands with family members in the hospital.
Damar suffered from cardiac arrest after a tackle on the field, the Bills tweeted around 1 a.m. on Tuesday, January 3.
“His heartbeat was restored on the field and he was transferred to the UC Medical Center for further testing and treatment,” the message continued. “He is currently sedated and listed in critical condition.”
His family issued a statement thanking fans for their support on January 3. “On behalf of our family, we want to express our sincere gratitude for the love and support shown to Damar during this challenging time,” the statement began. “We are deeply moved by the prayers, kind words and donations from fans around the country.”
“We also want to acknowledge the dedicated first responders and healthcare professionals at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center who have provided exceptional care to Damar. We feel so blessed to be part of the Buffalo Bills organization and to have their support,” they wrote. “We also want to thank Coach Taylor and the Bengals for everything they’ve done.”
After thanking fans for their “generosity and compassion,” the statement concluded, “Please keep Damar in your prayers. We will release updates as soon as we have them.”
Later on January 3, Hamlin’s uncle, Dorrian Glenn, told CNN that the athlete’s heart “had went out so they had to resuscitate him twice.”
“They resuscitated him on the field before they brought him to the hospital and then they resuscitated him a second time when they got him to the hospital,” he explained.
Glenn also shared that Hamlin was still sedated at the time the interview took place. “They sedated him just to give a better chance for him to just continue to heal better,” he shared. “We are just taking it day by day. It seems like he’s trending upwards in a positive way.”
He added that Hamlin has been “flipped over on his stomach” to help with blood in his lungs, noting that the next step is to get his nephew to breathe on his own.
What Happened to Damar Hamlin?
Hamlin collapsed and fell on his back while on the field less than six minutes into the first quarter of the game. The scary moment happened shortly after he got up from an open field tackle on Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins.
Bills team trainers were treating Hamlin within 10 seconds. An ambulance arrived on the field in under five minutes and the athlete received CPR, according to ESPN’s broadcast. Hamlin is now being treated at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center.
After the incident, the game was officially postponed. The game has since been canceled.
When Was Damar Hamlin Discharged From the Hospital?
One day after the Bills showed support for their teammate while playing against the New England Patriots on Sunday, January 8, Dr. William A. Knight revealed that Hamlin had been discharged from the hospital and was being transferred to Buffalo General Medical Center.
“He is doing well and this is the beginning of the next stage of his recovery,” Knight said during a news conference on Monday, January 9. “It is entirely too premature to discuss, not only his football; it’s that we’re really focused on his day-to-day recovery.”
On Wednesday, January 11, a statement shared via the Bills’ Instagram account revealed that Hamlin had been discharged from the Buffalo hospital after going through “a comprehensive medical evaluation as well as a series of cardiac, neurological and vascular testing.”
What Did Damar Hamlin Say About His Hospitalization?
The Pennsylvania native updated his fans via Instagram by sharing a grateful note on January 7.
“When you put real love out into the world it comes back to you 3x’s as much [sic],” Hamlin captioned his post. “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 [sic]!”
Did Damar Hamlin Have a Heart Attack?
Suffering from cardiac arrest — defined by the abrupt loss of heart function, breathing and consciousness — is not the same thing as a heart attack.
“The condition usually results from a problem with your heart’s electrical system, which disrupts your heart’s pumping action and stops blood flow to your body,” according to the Mayo Clinic, adding that a heart attack occurs when “blood flow to a part of the heart is blocked.” Notably, a heart attack can sometimes lead to cardiac arrest.
Sudden cardiac arrest can lead to death if not treated immediately through CPR or using a defibrillator.
Who Is Damar Hamlin?
Hamlin joined the Bills in 2021 as a sixth-round draft pick from the University of Pittsburgh. He’s played every game this season.
In addition to football, Hamlin is the founder and CEO of clothing line Chasing M’s, and he’s known for his philanthropy work. On Christmas Day, he hosted his third annual toy drive through his Chasing M’s Foundation.
“As I embark on my journey to the NFL, I will never forget where I come from and I am committed to using my platform to positively impact the community that raised me,” Hamlin previously said about his charity. “I created The Chasing M’s Foundation as a vehicle that will allow me to deliver that impact.”
Within hours of his injury, fans rallied to donate more than $3 million to the athlete’s charity. As of Monday, January 9, the charity has now earned more than $8 million.
On January 6, Damar applied for trademarks for the phrases “Did We Win?” and “Three Is Back.” He is already selling a shirt with “Did We Win?” – his first words after waking from his medical emergency – written across the chest and his hands with a hospital bracelet around his wrist forming the shape of a heart.
“We all won,” he tweeted alongside a photo of the T-shirt. “Proceeds of this shirt will go to first responders and the UC Trauma Center. Go get yours!”
According to the trademark application, Damar plans to use the phrases on shirts, jerseys and other articles of clothing and accessories.
When Will Damar Hamlin Return to Football?
The Bills took on the Bengals for the first time since the accident on Sunday, January 2023, during the divisional round of the NFL playoffs. While Damar did not participate in the game, he returned to the Highmark Stadium to watch his team battle it out on their home turf.
In April, Hamlin was cleared by multiple specialists to play in the 2023 NFL season.
“My heart is still in the game. I love the game. It is something I want to prove to myself, not nobody else,” Hamlin said during his first news conference after his health scare at the time. “I just wanna show people that that fear is a choice that you can keep going in something without having the answers and without knowing what’s at the end of the tunnel. Or you might feel anxious, you might feel any type of way, but you just keep putting that right foot in front of the left one, and you keep going. I want to stand for that.”