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Reflections of the SPASH Community

The Mirror

Reflections of the SPASH Community

The Mirror

Reflections of the SPASH Community

The Mirror

Damar Hamlin’s Triumphant Return To Cincinnati

A year after the on field cardiac arrest that shook the sports world, Hamlin returns to play and thank those who helped save his life

On January 2, during the week 17 game at Cincinnati, Damar Hamlin went for a tackle on
Tee Higgins, a wide receiver on the Bengals. When he went in for the routine tackle on Higgins,
Higgins’s right shoulder hit Damar Hamlin in the chest; when Damar Hamlin got up, he was
stumbling, and then all of a sudden he fell to the ground and lay on the field, motionless. He
received emergency medical treatment on the field from the Buffalo and Cincinnati trainers; both
of the team’s trainers performed C.P.R. Hamlin lay on the field for nearly 20 minutes until an
ambulance arrived and took him to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center. Occurring
midway through the opening quarter, the chilling scene led the league to postpone the game
about 90 minutes after kickoff. The N.F.L. said they will not be resuming the game this week.
January 9 – January 11
Hamlin was released from the hospital in Cincinnati on January 9 and transferred to the
Buffalo General Medical Center/Gates Vascular Institute, from where he was discharged on
January 11. The Bills said Hamlin was released after a comprehensive medical evaluation,
including cardiac, neurological, and vascular testing.
January 22
Hamlin attended the Bill’s A.F.C. divisional round game against the Bengals on January
22; he visited the locker room before the game and then watched the game from the suite. During
the game, the stadium Jumbotron showed Hamlin, who cupped his hands into a heart symbol and
then urged the crowd to cheer the defense.
January 28
In his first time speaking publicly since his on-field collapse, Hamlin posted a video on
social media on January 28 thanking the medical staff who treated him and all those who offered
him support during his recovery. Recovery from a life-threatening event like the one Hamlin
experienced usually takes weeks to months, said Dr. Timothy Pritts, a trauma surgeon who was
part of Hamlin’s care team at U.C.M.C. Dr. Pritts said Hamlin was on “a very normal to even
accelerated” trajectory, which means that his progress has been a little bit ahead of what’s
expected at each stage. Hamlin will continue to need different kinds of therapy and care from
specialists, his doctors said, as he regains strength and continues to recover from being intubated
for three days. They declined to speculate on how far Hamlin is from returning to everyday life
and said that discussing whether he could play football again would be “significantly into the
future.”
October 1
Hamlin achieved his goal of resuming his playing career when he took the field as part of
Buffalo’s kickoff return unit to open its game against the Miami Dolphins. The Bills won 48-20.
The kickoff resulted in a touchback but marked a key milestone for Hamlin, a healthy scratch for
the Bills’ first three games. He got the nod to play with starting safety Jordan Poyer sidelined by
a knee injury.
November 5, 10 months after his cardiac arrest
Damar Hamlin was a healthy scratch for the Buffalo Bills game at the Cincinnati Bengals
on Sunday night. There is much emphasis on the word “healthy.” The last time the Bills visited
Paycor Stadium was January 2, when Hamlin suffered cardiac arrest during the game and was
resuscitated on the field before being taken by ambulance to a hospital. The horrifying scene
unfolded as a national audience watched on “Monday Night Football.” Hamlin has made a
remarkable recovery since then and was cleared to play in April. Sunday was the eighth time in
nine games this season that Hamlin was healthy but inactive, but the significance of being able to
walk back into that stadium with his teammates Sunday was not lost on Hamlin. “We all go
through tough times. We all go through adversity,” Hamlin said in a Today show interview that
took place before the game but aired Monday. “And being able to get knocked down and having
a problem in front of the entire world and then come into that same stadium and stand in
whatever role I have and support my team, I think that shows much strength, courage, pride,
confidence.” The former University of Pittsburgh star also announced during his return to
Cincinnati that his charitable foundation will award $1,000 scholarships to 10 students from
underserved communities in the area in the next three years. Those donations will be made in the
names of 10 first responders, nurses, and doctors who helped save his life earlier this year.

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