When Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin appeared on the NFL Honors stage on Thursday night, he shared his gratitude for the medical staff that helped save his life after going into cardiac arrest.
A little over a month ago, Hamlin suddenly collapsed in the middle of a game against the Cincinnati Bengals after going into cardiac arrest. He spent roughly a week in a Cincinnati hospital before being flown to Buffalo, where he continued his recovery process.
On Wednesday, the 24-year-old athlete received NFLPA’s Alan Page Community Award. The following day, he was celebrated during NFL Honors night alongside NFL medical training staff and the medical professionals from the University of Cincinnati Medical Center that helped Hamlin regain his health after his collapse.
“First, I would like to just thank God for even being here,” the NFL player relayed to audience members at the Phoenix Convention Center. “Every day, I’m amazed that my experiences could encourage so many others across the country and even across the world — encourage to pray, encourage to spread love, and encourage to keep fighting no matter the circumstances.”
“Sudden cardiac arrest is something I never would have chosen to be a part of my story, but that’s because our own visions are too small even when we think we see the whole picture,” Hamlin continued. “My vision was about playing in the NFL and being the best player I could be, but God’s plan was to have a purpose greater than any game in this world.”
Damar Hamlin says, ‘it’s a lot easier to face your fears when you know your purpose’ following his cardiac event.
The Bills player added that although the experience was challenging, he feels more aligned with his purpose on this Earth.
“My entire life, I felt like God was using me to give others hope, and now with a new set of circumstances, I can say he’s doing what he’s always done,” he said. “I have a long journey ahead, a journey full of unknowns and a journey full of milestones, but it’s a lot easier to face your fears when you know your purpose.”
Hamlin also recognized a specific doctor on his team who particularly sparked hope for his recovery. Speaking of an ICU doctor named Yusef, the NFL star expressed the sentiments, “There was so much uncertainty at the time and just him coming to me, showing I could live a normal life again, it meant so much to me and my mom. I want to give a big thank you to him.”
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