Damar Hamlin, a standout in American football, is one of the most recent athletes to experience heart issues while competing.
During the January primetime game, the 24-year-old was involved in a collision with an opponent and dropped to the ground. Later, doctors confirmed that he had experienced a cardiac arrest.
Now, three months after having a heart attack in the middle of a game and undergoing CPR on the field, Buffalo Bills general manager Brandon Beane told reporters on Tuesday that the 25-year-old safety is medically cleared to return to the field in April.
“He’s fully cleared, he’s here and he’s in a great headspace to come back and make his return,” Beane said during a press conference. This return to football comes just 3½ months after requiring CPR on the field during “Monday Night Football.”
When questioned about what stands out to him about his recovery from illness, Hamlin responded, “Not to sound cliche, man, but the ‘wow moment’ is every day just being able to wake up and just take deep breaths and live a peaceful life. To have a family, to have people around me that love me, that care about me, and for those people to still have me in their lives.”
“They almost lost me. I died on national TV in front of the whole world. You know what I mean? That right there is just the biggest blessing of it all. For me to still have my people and for my people to still have me.”
For almost 12 minutes on Tuesday, Hamlin addressed the media, outlining what transpired on the night of January 2 and expressing his commitment to play football once more. “This event was life-changing, but it’s not the end of my story,” Hamlin said. “So, I’m here to announce that I plan on making a comeback to the NFL.”
“The diagnosis of what happened to me was basically commotio cordis. It’s a direct blow at a specific point in your heartbeat that causes cardiac arrest,” Hamlin added. “And five to seven seconds later, you fall out. … Commotio cordis is the leading cause of death in youth athletes across all sports. So, that’s something that I personally will be taking a step in to make a change. Also, with that being said, all of the awareness around CPR and access to AEDs have been lowering that number as well.”