It was one week ago tonight that the country — possibly the world — held its collective breath after Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin fell backward onto the field after having gotten up following a tackle that was nothing special. Medical personnel swarmed around him, with one of the Bills’ trainers, Denny Kellington, providing life-saving CPR to Hamlin on the field.
The game was canceled following the alarming scene, with stunned players, fans, and announcers hoping for the best and fearing the worst. Scant information was available, with bits of promising updates coming from family members. Hamlin was initially sedated and placed on a ventilator, which led to speculation that his condition was grave. It was during this time that donations to Hamlin’s GoFundMe, benefitting his non-profit work to help the disadvantaged, skyrocketed; as of this writing, it was sitting at well over $8.3 million.
The prayers and goodwill sent his way during the days following his medical emergency must have worked wonders. Today, Damar Hamlin is back home in Buffalo and is receiving treatment for what one of his doctors called “the next stage of his recovery.” He is not back to 100 percent, but was well enough to travel to Buffalo General Hospital, with his doctor in Cincinnati, Dr. William A. Knight, saying the second-year player had met “key milestones” and was “doing well.”
Hamlin tweeted the news to his followers:
Grateful for the awesome care I received at UCMC. Happy to be back in Buffalo. The docs and nurses at Buffalo General have already made me feel at home! 🏩🏾.
— 𝐃𝐚𝐦𝐚𝐫 𝐇𝐚𝐦𝐥𝐢𝐧 (@HamlinIsland) January 9, 2023
Dr. Knight also reported that Hamlin “has been up with physical therapy and occupational therapy, walking the unit, tolerating a regular diet, meeting with his family and many members of the care team that wanted to see how he was doing – all to get him to this point where he could be safely returned to Buffalo.”
Doctors in Buffalo will continue to run tests on Hamlin in an effort to determine what caused his heart to stop on the field last week. Around the NFL yesterday, teams paid tribute to Hamlin by wearing his jersey number “3” or sporting shirts that read, “Love for Damar.”
For his part, Hamlin contacted his teammates before their game yesterday, with Bills cornerback Tre’Davious White saying that Hamlin texted the entire team, “I’m thinking about y’all. I’m sorry that I did that to y’all.” White added, “For him to check on us when he’s the person going through what he’s going through, that just shows what type of person he is for him to check on us in a situation like that, when he’s the one going through it.”