Bills safety Damar Hamlin basically died after going into cardiac arrest on the field against the Bengals on Jan. 2. That was a scene that most people had never seen, and it was played out during one of the biggest games of the year. The scene was so grim that the league stopped play and eventually cancelled the game outright. As if anyone needs reminded, Bleacher Report said:
Hamlin went into cardiac arrest during a Week 17 game against the Cincinnati Bengals. After receiving CPR and requiring a defibrillator on the field, Hamlin was transported to a hospital and spent seven days in intensive care. He was then transferred to a Buffalo hospital for two days before being discharged.
Who will ever forget that scene? The absolute quiet in the stadium, the awkward, shocked commentary from the booth, the tears from sideline and studio reporters. It was one of the most dramatic scenes in sports history.
Damar Hamlin has been "fully cleared" to resume football activities, Bills GM Brandon Beane announced. pic.twitter.com/a2avQrl2UK
— ESPN (@espn) April 18, 2023
Most people, myself included thought Hamlin died on the field. It looked like it was a hopeless situation. Now, here we are months later and Hamlin is set to strap the helmet on and continue pursuing his dream. GM Brandon Beane said:
“He is fully cleared. He’s here. He’s in a great headspace to make his return.”
It’s nothing short of miraculous that Hamlin is even alive after the hit from Tee Higgins that interrupted his heart rhythm, causing cardiac arrest. While Damar may be physically cleared, what remains to be seen is how he will approach contact from a mental standpoint. Beane went on to say:
Damar is preparing to play.”He’s such a great kid, such a great family. And it’s exciting to, you know, to go from a guy who was fighting for his life, to he is now… you know, his story hasn’t been written. Now, it’s about the comeback,”
Speaking during team organized activities this week, Bills head coach Sean McDermott said:
“He’s been cleared from a physical standpoint and we’ll provide all the mental help we can from a mind, body and spirit standpoint. So just happy for him that he’s been able to check some of those boxes to this point.”
In an interview before the Super Bowl, Hamlin stated his desire to continue his career, but also stated it was up to God:
“Eventually. That’s always the goal. Like I said, as a competitor, you know, I’m trying to do things to keep advancing my situation,” Hamlin said on a Fox interview prior to the Super Bowl. “But I’m allowing that to be in God’s hands. I’m just thankful he gave me a second chance.”
Damar Hamlin has had his share of adversity, and then some. If he is able to put the past away and return to form, it will be the culmination of the most improbable comeback in sports history. The young safety was only a sixth round pick, but he quickly showed he belonged. The Pitt product racked up 91 tackles and 1.5 sacks while starting 13 games.
If Hamlin can get out of his own head and just play football without fear he should be ok. While that remains to be seen, his story and comeback is still inspirational.
From almost certain death to the gridiron in a span of seven months is a testament to the type of person Hamlin is. He is an inspiration and an example of what prayer, hard work, and good medical care can accomplish.
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