BUFFALO, NY — Bills safety Damar Hamlin shared his first public comments since going into cardiac arrest on Jan. 2 by posting a nearly six-minute video to his Instagram account Saturday night, thanking everyone for the continued support and well wishes in last month .
Hamlin, 24, said it was important to him to wait to speak publicly at the “right time” as it was “just a lot to take in myself, mentally, physically and even spiritually”. The video was shot at the team’s facility in Orchard Park, New York. He included in the video that he continues to make progress in his recovery.
“I can’t tell you how grateful I am for all the love, all the support and everything that has just come my way,” said Hamlin. “What happened to me on ‘Monday Night Football’ I think is a direct example of God using me as a vessel to share my passion and my love with the whole world straight from my heart and I am able to return it. giving to children. and communities around the world who need it most, and that has always been my dream. That has always been what I stood for and will continue to stand for.”
The video comes nearly a week after Hamlin made his first public appearance during the Bills’ playoff loss to the visiting Cincinnati Bengals. He was shown on the video board holding his hands in the shape of a heart, in what has become his signature gesture, while also pumping up the crowd.
As Hamlin continues to recover, he has posted posts and photos on social media filled with updates and gratitude for everyone’s well wishes.
Hamlin’s Chasing M’s Foundation raised more than $8 million in the days after he went to the hospital, with the money going through a GoFundMe for a toy drive with an initial goal of $2,500. He said he was surprised by all the support.
“That was something that started long before I got to the NFL, something that started small to impact my little community back home, McKees Rocks. [Pennsylvania]Hamlin said. “I just wanted to be able to play my part and play my part in my community as I ventured out and chased my dreams to make the NFL, and you guys just took that and blew that away, and I’m so excited about the things I’ve got in have planned the future for these children across the country.”
Hamlin thanked the Bills’ training, athletic, and medical staff, first responders, and medical personnel and caregivers at hospitals in Cincinnati and Buffalo who all played a role in saving his life, naming many.
Hamlin spent nearly a week at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center after going into cardiac arrest during the first quarter of the Bills’ Week 17 regular season game against the Bengals in Cincinnati. He then flew to New York and spent about two days at Buffalo General Medical Center/Gates Vascular Institute before being discharged on January 11.
He then thanked his parents, Mario and Nina, “who are literally my anchors and my everything who have never left my side the whole time,” and his 7-year-old brother, Damir, “who is my why, my reason why I strive to be my best self every day.”
In the video, Hamlin thanked family, friends, teammates and the entire Bills organization for continuing to check in and offer support. He also credited the Bengals and the NFL as a whole for “putting team loyalty aside to strive for the life of one child,” with teams and the league showing their support for Hamlin in a variety of ways, from donations to prayers to T-shirts for Matches of week 18.
“I’m not surprised,” said Hamlin, “but I’m immensely grateful, and I’ll be forever grateful for that.”
Hamlin also thanked fans, especially the Bills Mafia, for the love and support, noting that all the kids who sent him letters and gifts have inspired him.
“It’s always been important to me to be a role model, but just seeing the love and support of the youth,” Hamlin said, “just pushes me to give back and get out in the communities and touch the kids and just be that example that they can look at, touch, feel, talk and know that whatever they dream of is real it can happen if you stay focused, stay committed, stay committed to what you does, you know, because that’s pretty much what got me here.”
Hamlin ended the video with his hands forming a heart.
“I will continue to do great and wonderful things,” said Hamlin. “I couldn’t do this without some support and love, and I can’t wait to take you all on this journey.”