Damar Hamlin steps out amid recovery to support Buffalo Bills
Damar Hamlin assured his team of his support during his recovery process.
The road to a full recovery has been slow but impressive for the Buffalo Bills safety, who sent teammates and fans into a panic after suffering cardiac arrest and collapsing during a game nearly a month ago. Since then, it has been confined within the walls of the Buffalo General Medical Center/Gates Vascular Institute.
So when he got a chance to return to the public eye, his first call was for Sunday’s playoff game against the Cincinnati Bengals. The teams’ game was already underway before Hamlin’s collapse, so the NFL postponed it.
The presence of Damar Hamlin does not mean good luck for his Buffalo Bills teammates
Hamlin’s remarkable recovery was on display for all to see when he arrived at the Western New York track just before the start of the playoffs. His presence was such a welcome development that the Bills treated him as a special guest of honor.
Footage released before the game shows the 24-year-old arriving at Buffalo’s facilities and being escorted by security to the team’s locker room. Hamlin kept his head down, dark sunglasses and his hood up as he hurried from the safety car to the locker room.
His mother, Nina, and his younger brother, Damir, were not left behind joined in the dressing room, in their number 3 jersey. Although Hamlin wasn’t out on the field, his presence inside the stadium couldn’t be missed, thanks to the fans — known as the “Bills Mafia” — who held up “welcome” signs.
The injured safeties appeared to be enjoying the show in their luxury hotel suite at Highmark Stadium. Another forceps ESPN highlighted him and his family in the room through the heavy snowfall, then showed the fan holding up a sign that read, “Where else would you rather be… do it for the 3.”
“This is beautiful jubilation and happiness. What a team player, watching the game. Love hamlin, one person replied under the tweet. Another fan added: “Yes. So good to see him in the snow” – and a third on Twitter:
“Me personally, if I was a Bills player and I knew Damar was watching, I’d be inspired to win this game or try to put my foot behind the Bengals. That’s just me.”
Unfortunately, Hamlin’s teammates were unenthusiastic about winning the game, losing to the Bengals despite their home field advantage and his presence. Based on CNNJoe Burrow’s touchdown passes gave the Bengals a 14-0 lead. Cincinnati led 17-7 at halftime, so they comfortably maintained their advantage with a 14-point lead in the fourth quarter.
With the Bills losing to the Bengals 27-10, the latter will face the Kansas City Chiefs in the American Football Conference (AFC) championship game. The Bengals host the Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday, January 29th, with kickoff scheduled for 6:30pm ET.
The University of Pittsburgh Alum is still on a tough road in his recovery
Despite spending just nine days in two hospitals, The Blast noted that Hamlin still has a long way to go in his recovery. Sharing details of his continued progress, longtime friend Jordan Rooney revealed the athlete “still needed oxygen” as well as regular hospital visits to check his heart.
The visits would help to breathe easy, which Rooney mentioned when he said: “He’s visited the team a few times but he still gets caught very easily.” Hamlin’s business partner also stated that his friend had maintained a “cheerful and positive” attitude during this period and was more than determined to “keep fighting through this.”
Teammate Dion Dawkins and coach Sean McDermott also boasted about the football player’s health. After the Bills coach informed those attending the press conference that Hamlin was at the team’s facility almost every day, Dawkins added:
“The way he’s walking around here is a positive thing and it’s (nice) to see Three (Hamlin’s jersey number) just smile and wave and just get his heart going and keep pushing.”
The Bills offensive tackle referred to his recovering teammate as “a positive energy bubble that just floats around the facility.”