Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin has been cleared to return to football after his heart stopped during a primetime game in January, Bills general manager Brandon Beane announced Tuesday.
Beane said three experts unanimously cleared Hamlin to resume practice on Friday and was at the team’s facility this week for the start of the Bills’ offseason training program.
“My heart is still in the game,” Hamlin said at a press conference on Tuesday.
Hamlin, 25, went into cardiac arrest on the field during the first quarter of the Bills-Bengals game in Cincinnati on January 2 and was given life support. He attempted a routine tackle on receiver Tee Higgins before going down. Higgins bowed. Hamlin chest. After the tackle, Hamlin got up and he took two steps before falling to the ground.
With players on both teams clearly shaken, medical professionals administered CPR to Hamlin, with some crying on the sidelines and others circling and kneeling in prayer. Responded for 10 minutes. Hamlin revived on the field and was taken to a hospital in Cincinnati, where he spent nearly a week in the intensive care unit. He was then taken to a hospital in Buffalo to continue his recovery.
In the days following the collapse, Hamlin received an outpouring of support, with over 200,000 people donating over $9 million to the toy cause Hamlin previously founded. GoFundMe pageA Hamlin representative said the money would be donated to Hamlin’s charitable foundation.
Hamlin’s agent Ira Turner said in a brief interview on Tuesday that Hamlin would not have to sign a special waiver or complete any additional contractual formalities to return to play. The Bills have put Hamlin on injured reserve while he rehabilitates. Turner said Hamlin has continued to work out and is in “great” shape, she said.
“He’s ready and excited,” Turner said. “I’m sure he’s nervous like anything else, but he’s ready.”
Hamlin has received a lot of attention since being discharged from hospital in January. He was instrumental in honoring the Bills’ training and medical staff and hospital workers who treated the Bills at a pregame ceremony at the Super Bowl in February. A few days before his championship game, Hamlin delivered an inspirational speech after receiving the Community Award at his NFL Honors ceremony.
“I have a long road ahead of me, a journey full of unknowns, a journey full of milestones, but facing my fears is much easier when I know my purpose,” he said. said.
Hamlin met with President Biden in the Oval Office in March and addressed Congress in support of a bill that, if passed, would fund the use of automated external defibrillators (AEDs) in schools.