In a six-minute video released Saturday, Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin spoke at length for the first time since suffering near-fatal cardiac arrest after making a tackle during a Week 17 game against the Cincinnati Bengals. In the introduction to the video, Hamlin explains that he waited until the right time to speak before saying that his situation was a lot to process mentally, physically and spiritually while also citing the end of the Bills season.
Hamlin first expressed his gratitude and appreciation for the support he has been shown, before thanking a large number of people and groups.
“I think what happened to me on Monday Night Football is a direct example of how God is using me as a vehicle to share my passion and love with the whole world, right from my heart,” Hamlin said. “And now I can give it back to children and communities around the world who need it most. It has always been my dream, it has always been what I have stood for and will continue to stand for.”
Hamlin then thanked the Bills’ training, 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 subsequent care. Hamlin then thanked his mother and father, his little brother and other family and friends before thanking the Bills’ fan base.
“Ever since I became a Buffalo Bill, it’s been nothing but genuine love and support. Not even just for me, but for everyone’s situation,” Hamlin said. “No matter what it was, Bill’s Mafia jumped behind it and gave 110% support, love, no matter the situation. When this happened to me, I felt nothing short of love. And it’s really helped me stay encouraged to get through the toughest moments and the toughest times. I really can’t thank you enough.”
Hamlin then thanked his Bills teammates before speaking out to the city of Cincinnati, the Cincinnati Bengals and the rest of the NFL for the support shown in the days and weeks of football following Hamlin’s medical episode.
“They put humanity above team loyalty. They showed the world unity over division,” Hamlin said. “I’m not surprised, but I am deeply grateful and will forever be grateful and indebted.”
Finally, Hamlin thanked the children who sent him letters and gifts while he recovered, and he also thanked those who had 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 following his near-fatal injury.
“This is just the beginning of the impact I wanted to have on the world,” concluded Hamlin. “And with God’s guidance, I will continue to do wonderful and great things. I couldn’t do this without the support and love, and I can’t wait to continue taking you all on this journey.”
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 wide receiver after a 13-yard gain. Hamlin immediately collapsed while standing, prompting the Bills’ medical staff to administer emergency medical treatment. Hamlin was taken off the field in an ambulance and, after receiving CPR and automated external defibrillation (AED), was transported to UC Medical Center, 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, started in 13 games this season in place of the injured Micah Hyde.