Buffalo Bills star Damar Hamlin overcame his fears and participated in his first workout in pads since his cardiac arrest.
Just seven months ago, during the Bills’ Week 17 game against the Cincinnati Bengals, the 25-year-old collapsed on the field, suffered cardiac arrest and had to be resuscitated by the team’s coaching staff.
Despite everything Hamlin has overcome since the Monday Night Football game in January, Hamlin drew on his faith in God and himself, and the support of his family and teammates, to take another step toward resuming his playing career.
“This is just another milestone in the journey – possibly one of the biggest,” Hamlin said after the workout.
“I made the decision to play. But I process a thousand emotions. “I’m not afraid to say that it crosses my mind to be a little scared here and there,” he added. “My faith is stronger than any fear.” That’s what I want to preach here. And that’s the message I want to convey to the world: As long as your faith is stronger than your fear, you can get through anything.”
Buffalo Bills star Damar Hamlin completed his first workout in pads since suffering cardiac arrest
Security admitted to being scared but claimed his faith was stronger and helped him pull through
Despite receiving permission to resume training in mid-April, Hamlin wore a helmet and shorts with his teammates during spring sessions and the first four days of training camp, as required by NFL rules.
The magnitude of the Bills’ first day of practice hadn’t escaped Hamlin as it marked the first time he’d worn the full uniform since collapsing on the field in Cincinnati on Jan. 2 after what appeared to be a routine tackle against the Bengals Recipient Tea Higgins.
“It’s a gloriously blessed space.” “To be able to do what I love again,” Hamlin said. “I’m just trying to keep everything as normal as possible.”
The normality of football came to him about an hour into practice when Hamlin first took the field during a running practice in the team’s red zone, where tackles were still not allowed.
On his second play, Hamlin, without hesitation, rushed Damien Harris and hugged him with both arms.
Hamlin’s biggest contact came on the final play of practice when he dodged a block, worked his way into the backcourt and helped a teammate stop tight end Quintin Morris in what would have meant a loss.
“That first little moment of contact just let me know. I felt alive man. “I felt like I was here,” Hamlin said with a big grin. “So it felt good. It was that moment where you said, “Okay, let’s settle in and just play one track at a time.” “Let’s just move on.”
The 25-year-old from the Pittsburgh area is entering his third NFL season. Picked by Buffalo in the sixth round of the 2021 draft against Pitt, he started last season as a substitute before starting 13 games after suffering a season-ending neck injury to Micah Hyde.
The 25-year-old also attended the first four days of the organization’s training camp
Hamlin was allowed to resume training in mid-April but wore a helmet and shorts
Hamlin poses for a photo with fans after training at the training camp on Sunday
This year, Hamlin is competing with off-season free-agent newcomer Taylor Rapp for a backup role behind Hyde and Jordan Poyer. As for Hamlin’s next hurdle, it will come on August 12 when the Bills open their pre-season at home against Indianapolis.
Rapp, who spent his first four NFL seasons with the Los Angeles Rams, may be new to Buffalo but has been impressed with how Hamlin has handled himself.
“How far he’s come and what he’s bringing back from last season and just to see how he’s approaching it and tackling rehab at the facility is just inspiring,” Rapp said.
A day earlier, coach Sean McDermott said he was walking a fine line by treating Hamlin like any other player, considering what he’d been through.
“I think awareness is important, right? “There’s X-People out here and then there’s Damar there trying to make it as normal as possible,” McDermott said. “We will support him in this and he has done a phenomenal job so far.”
Before training, Hamlin played catch with his younger brother Damir. During the stretch, the team’s head coach, Nate Breske, walked over to shake Hamlin’s hand. Following his press conference, Hamlin went to a large group of fans to sign autographs.
Hamlin’s influence can be clearly seen on the training camp grounds, where fans can take part in CPR training in an American Heart Association tent. With his Chasing M’s Foundation, Hamlin has made stops in Buffalo, Pittsburgh and Cincinnati promoting CPR training and distributing free automated external defibrillators to athletic organizations.
And he got a startling reminder of what happened to him just before training camp started when Bronny, the son of NBA star LeBron James, went into cardiac arrest during basketball practice in Southern California last week. He has since been released from the hospital.
Bills head coach Sean McDermott praised Hamlin, saying he had done a “phenomenal job”.
Last week, Hamlin offered his support to Bronny James after he also went into cardiac arrest
LeBron James’ son Bronny suffered cardiac arrest in training in memory of Hamlin
“It put everything back in perspective for me,” said Hamlin, who reached out to the James family after they supported him during his recovery. “I wanted to let him know that if he chooses to do so, I will be there for whatever he needs on his journey through to his recovery and getting back to his sport.”
Hamlin has made his decision and will remain loyal to football for as long and as widely as possible.
“Some of those emotions will never go away.” “If everyone stops paying me attention, I’ll still process those emotions myself,” he said.
“I kind of look at it as a challenge,” Hamlin added. “Not many people reach that level of being able to overcome something and be able to stand up for so many good things.” … It’s a blessed place, and there’s a lot of opportunity there too, if you look at it that way.”