In his first comments on camera since going into cardiac arrest on Monday Night Football on Jan. 2, Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin said he would not have made it through the “toughest moments and the toughest times” without the support from all over the world.
Right after making a tackle on Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins, Hamlin stood up, but immediately collapsed. Medical staff performed CPR on him for over nine minutes, and he left the field on an ambulance after having to be defibrillated.
Hamlin was released from the hospital on Jan. 11, and says he continues to make “so much progress recovering.”
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The 24-year-old has been active on social media, even live-tweeting during several Bills games, but he wanted to wait for the “right time” to share a message on video.
“Now that my brothers have closed out a strong, winning season, as I continue to make so much progress recovering, I think it’s finally a good time to share a few things,” he said in an Instagram post on Saturday. “I think it was important for me to wait and speak publicly at the right time, as it was just a lot to process within my own self mentally, physically, even spiritually, it’s just been a lot to process. But I can’t tell you how appreciative I am of all the love, all the support, and everything that’s just been coming my way.
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“What happened to me on Monday Night Football I feel is a direct example of God using me as a vessel to share my passion and my love directly from my heart with the entire world, and I’m able to give it back to kids and communities all across the world who need it the most, and that’s always been my dream. That’s always been what I stood for and what I’ll continue to stand for.”
He went on to thank the Bills medical staff and doctors at the University of Cincinnati Medical center, who “acted willfully and skillfully to save my life.”
He also gave gratitude to friends who checked up on him via text and visits, and thanked football fans all over for their support.
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“With this happening to me, I didn’t feel anything short of the love, and it really helped me stay encouraged to get through the toughest moments and the toughest times. I really can’t thank you enough…
“Just to put team allegiance aside, to root for one kid’s life and just the humanity of a player that’s wearing Buffalo blue, to put humanity above team loyalty, you showed the world unity over division. I’m, not surprised by it, but I’m deeply grateful. I’ll be forever thankful and indebted to that…”
“I couldn’t do this without any of the support and the love, and I can’t wait to continue to take y’all on this journey with me.”
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Hamlin made an appearance at the Bills’ matchup against the Bengals on Sunday.
He ended his video by making a heart with his hands.