After his terrifying end to his season, Damar Hamlin told the press that his heart is “still in the game” and he is medically cleared to return to football.
During the Bills v. Bengals game in early January, Hamlin made what seemed to be a routine tackle but resulted in a horrible injury; Hamlin went into cardiac arrest and had to be resuscitated on the field. Specialists concluded that the cardiac arrest was caused by commotio cordis, a direct blow at a specific point in a heartbeat that causes the heart to stop. When he was transported to the hospital, he spent multiple days in a medically induced coma.
In the months following the incident, Hamlin has been able to recover alongside his family and friends. He tells reporters about the injury being “a life-changing event, but it’s not the end of my story. I plan on making a comeback to the NFL.” After his final appointment with a specialist this past Friday, all 3 of his doctors agreed that Hamlin was safe to go back to football without worrying about setbacks or complications.
Hamlin has officially begun participating in the Bills’ voluntary workout program, where his teammates were thrilled to have him back. The next steps for Hamlin are now the same as any other player, work hard to secure his spot on the roster. He gets to go back on the field next month once spring practices begin to open, and then finally followed by mandatory summer practices and training camp by the end of July.
When discussing how he would watch football from the hospital, Hamlin says his doctors believe that getting back to the game could have some major mental health benefits. Hamlin says, “being around my teammates, the camaraderie of the sport of football, you know, that’s what makes this sport the best in the world, is the brotherhood that it creates, the unity that it creates between all people of all aspects of life and just different journeys, it brings them together for one common goal.”
Hamlin was given the NFLPA’s Alan Page Community Award in February, at the Super Bowl festivities in Phoenix. He also participated in a pregame ceremony where the NFL thanked the first responders who helped him as well as the training and medical staffs of the Bengals and Bills. He told reporters, “I got a long journey to go, but I’m committed to it each day, day in, day out.” Hamlin’s injury and recovery have had a major impact on the league and nation; players and fans alike are looking forward to seeing his comeback next season.