NFL player Damar Hamlin has just shared his first update with the public since suffering a sudden cardiac arrest on the field. The Buffalo Bills safety collapsed following a play that saw him collide with a player from the Cincinnati Bengals during a game on January 2, and his heartbeat was restarted via CPR before he was transported to a hospital, where he remained in critical condition for several days.
The outpouring of love and support for Hamlin online was staggering, as football fans who had witnessed the incredibly distressing moments following Hamlin’s collapse shared their hopes that he would make a speedy recovery. On Saturday January 7, Hamlin reached out to express his gratitude, and hinted at the longer recovery process ahead of him.
“When you put real love out into the world it comes back to you 3x’s as much,” he wrote in an Instagram post—his first since Christmas. “The Love has been overwhelming, but I’m thankful for every single person that prayed for me and reached out. We brung the world back together behind this. If you know me you know this only gone make me stronger. On a long road keep praying for me!”
Experts concurred that Hamlin appeared to have experienced a rare condition known as commotio cordis during the January 2 game, where a sudden impact under specific circumstances can cause the heart to go into arrhythmia, leading to instant cardiac arrest.
Hamlin’s severe mid-play injury prompted a resurgence of the discussion surrounding NFL player safety; former player Ryan Clark called this “a side of football that no-one ever wants to see,” telling viewers at home that “we should remember that these men are putting their lives on the line to live their dream.”
Philip Ellis is a freelance writer and journalist from the United Kingdom covering pop culture, relationships and LGBTQ+ issues. His work has appeared in GQ, Teen Vogue, Man Repeller and MTV.