Damar Hamlin Is on the Road to Recovery


Damar Hamlin leaves the field after a game in December 2022. (Photo Credit: Greg M. Cooper)

Heading into Week 17 of the 2022-2023 National Football League (NFL) season, stakes were high for the Cincinnati Bengals and Buffalo Bills. The teams met in Cincinnati to play a crucial game in the NFL playoff race.

What was supposed to be an electric game between two strong contenders quickly took a turn for the worse. On January 2, Buffalo defensive back Damar Hamlin suffered a cardiac arrest on the field shortly after making a tackle.

Medical personnel and local paramedics rushed to the field and began to administer CPR to the fallen Hamlin. After nine tense minutes, Hamlin’s heartbeat was restored, and he was rushed to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center. In the following days, updates provided by the NFL and Hamlin’s family reported that Hamlin was sedated and in critical condition in the Intensive Care Unit, but his health was improving.

The good news continued the next day on January 5 when the Buffalo Bills released a statement that Hamlin had “shown remarkable improvement” and appeared to be “neurologically intact.”

On January 9, Hamlin was released from the University of Cincinnati Medical Center and transferred to the Buffalo General Medical Center. Following a series of tests and evaluations, as well as consultations with Hamlin’s medical team, the decision was made to discharge Hamlin and to continue his rehabilitation at home and with the Buffalo Bills.

Hamlin still faces a lengthy rehabilitation process, requiring oxygen and heart monitoring to ensure that there are no setbacks or after-effects of the injury. Before the news of Hamlin’s recovery and stability came, fans were worried, as his injury was a frightening moment for all who were enjoying the game.

“I believe that it was a very scary moment for football. It was especially scary because it made me realize that injuries like this can happen to anyone in the snap of a finger,” says Boston Latin School football team member Eric Powers (II), who watched the game and voiced his concerns over the unpredictability of injuries.

Fellow teammate Wilson Zheng (I) echoes similar sentiments, stating how he “felt that same anxiousness not knowing whether [Hamlin] would be okay or what even happened in the first place.”

After the devastating event, the entire NFL community rallied in support of Hamlin. Fans took to social media platforms and offered their support to Hamlin, his family and the entire Buffalo Bills team. Players from various teams in the NFL wore Hamlin’s number three during warmups. They were also seen wearing shirts with “Love for Damar 3.”

Most notably, however, fans of the NFL raised over 5 million dollars for Hamlin’s toy drive fundraiser which supports children in need. Hamlin had originally set out with a goal to raise 2,500 dollars to buy toys for underprivileged kids. After news of his recent injury, the community completely surpassed this target in the first 24 hours alone.

BLS science teacher and sports fan Mr. Michael Galego admires the level of community support, stating that “donating to Hamlin’s charity helps combat these feelings [of sadness and fear] as it provides a means of helping while also connecting to others who share those feelings. But whatever the reason, it was heartening to see the overwhelming amount of support he received.”

He emphasizes the importance of understanding the causes of sports-related injuries, explaining how he would “like to see professional sports leagues be more proactive in screening players for heart problems to prevent this from happening to other players in the future.”

While the road to recovery remains long and arduous for Damar Hamlin, the entire NFL community will be cheering him on, patiently waiting for the day he returns to the field.