ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — Damar Hamlin on Saturday night made his first remarks since going into cardiac arrest on the field during a Jan. 2 game of "Monday Night Football."
"I think it's finally a good time to share a few things," Hamlin said in a six-minute video released across various social media platforms, speaking directly to a camera shortly after sitting down in a chair.
"I think it was important for me to wait and speak publicly at the right time, as it was just a lot to process, within my own self, mentally, physically, even spiritually. It's just been a lot to process."
Hamlin said what happened during that prime-time game in Cincinnati was "a direct example of God using me as a vessel to share my passion and my love, directly from my heart, with the entire world. And I'm able to give it back to kids and communities all across the world, who need it the most, and that's always been my dream, that's always what I've stood for."
Hamlin was given CPR for about 10 minutes on the field after making a first-quarter tackle on Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins. He was eventually moved onto a stretcher and taken to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center in an ambulance.
After that, Hamlin's health drew the attention of an entire nation.
Hamlin’s Chasing M’s Foundation, which was started in December of 2020 with the intention of providing toys for needy children, had raised roughly $2,900 in two years. After he went into cardiac arrest in Cincinnati, donations soared, with the number now topping $9 million.
People across Western New York have also shown their love and support for the second-year safety with art. A mural has gone up in Larkin Square, and a street sign in East Aurora was altered, adding his name.
On Jan. 14, Bills linebacker Matt Milano posted a photo on his Instagram account of Hamlin, smiling, on the team's Orchard Park campus. Hamlin did not attend the Bills' 34-31 wild card win against the Miami Dolphins the next day.
“Supporting from home as I focus on my recovery. Nothing I want more than to be out there with them!” Hamlin posted to social media.
In the days that followed, Bills coach Sean McDermott said Hamlin "is in the building now starting, almost daily so that's good news. As he continues to improve that certainly helps."
Hamlin did attend the Bills' divisional round playoff game, a 27-10 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals on Jan. 22. He was seen on a cart before walking into the Bills' locker room before the game, then was shown waving to fans from a stadium suite as the game neared halftime.