Bills safety Damar Hamlin basically died after going into cardiac arrest on the field against the Bengals on Jan. 2. That was a scene that most people had never seen, and it was played out on the biggest stage, during one of the biggest games of the year. The scene was so grim that the league stopped play and eventually cancelled the game outright.
After what seemed like hours of no information, speculation and disbelief, Hamlin was transported to the University of Cincinnati medical center, and there he clung to life. Now, more than three months later, the most improbable comeback in sports history is preparing to take the next step. According to Buffalo Bills GM Brandon Beane, Damar Hamlin is cleared to return to football. In his pre-draft press conference, Beane said this: “He is fully cleared. He’s here. He’s in a great headspace to make his return.”
It’s nothing short of miraculous that Hamlin is even alive after the hit from Tee Higgins that interrupted his heart rhythm, causing cardiac arrest. While Damar may be physically cleared, what remains to be seen is how he will approach contact from a mental standpoint. Beane went on to say: Damar is preparing to play.”He’s such a great kid, such a great family. And it’s exciting to, you know, to go from a guy who was fighting for his life, to he is now… you know, his story hasn’t been written. Now, it’s about the comeback,”
Damar Hamlin has been "fully cleared" to resume football activities, Bills GM Brandon Beane announced. pic.twitter.com/a2avQrl2UK
— ESPN (@espn) April 18, 2023
For players in dangerous contact sports like football, if you think too much and don’t just react, then injuries and mistakes are more likely to happen. Will Hamlin be able to put all of the trauma aside and just read and react? That remains to be seen, but Beane is all in with his young player, as is head coach Sean McDermott.
Speaking during team organized activities this week, Bills head coach Sean McDermott said: “He’s been cleared from a physical standpoint and we’ll provide all the mental help we can from a mind, body and spirit standpoint. So just happy for him that he’s been able to check some of those boxes to this point.”
Star quarterback and team leader Josh Allen also had high praise for Hamlin and the work ethic that has led him to the verge of a comeback. He said: “You’re never going to doubt a guy like that who has had a lot of adversity in his life and he has continued to find ways”.
Damar Hamlin has had his share of adversity, and then some. If he is able to put the past away and return to form, it will be the culmination of the most improbable comeback in sports history.
From almost certain death to the gridiron in a span of seven months is a testament to the type of person Hamlin is. He is an inspiration and an example of what prayer, hard work, and good medical care can accomplish.
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