Injured NFL player Damar Hamlin moved an audience to tears as he spoke about his on-field incident, steady recovery, and outlook on life since surviving a terrifying cardiac arrest during a game.
The 2023 Phoenix-hosted NFL Honors program, established in 2012 to run concurrently during Super Bowl week and the focus on celebrations such as recognizing the league’s MVP, introduced Hamlin for a powerful, emotionally-moving speech from the the young professional athlete.
Buffalo Bills legend Jim Kelly also helped introduced the entire Bills and Cincinnati Bengals medical staff, along with the workers from the University of Cincinnati Health Center, who all aided Hamlin in various capacities during his harrowing life-or-death ordeal in the early January contest between the two teams. Hamlin stayed at the Cincinnati hospital for the week after his injury.
Hamlin appeared on stage and spoke to the sizable audience, saying he continued to be amazed that his experience had resonated with so many people “across the country and across the world.”
"The journey will continue." ❤️💙
— NFL (@NFL) February 10, 2023
“Every day I am amazed that my experiences could encourage so many others across the country and across the world,” Hamlin said. “Encourage to pray, encourage to spread love and encourage keep fighting no matter the circumstances.
“Sudden cardiac arrest was nothing I would have ever chosen to have been a part of my story, but that’s because sometimes our own visions are too small even when we think we’re seeing a bigger picture,” he continued. “My vision was about playing in the NFL and being the best player I could be. But God’s plan was to have a purpose greater than any game in this world.”
“I have a long journey ahead, a journey full of unknowns and a journey full of milestones. But it’s a lot easier to face your fears when you know your purpose,” Hamlin added.
Hamlin’s story is well known at this point, but is worth repeating. After making what seemed to be a routine tackle during the early goings of a Monday Night Football matchup between playoff hopeful Cincinnati Bengals and Hamlin’s Buffalo Bills, the defensive player stood up from the play before suddenly collapsing on the field.
Medical personnel immediately rushed to his attention and he was taken to the University of Cincinnati center for intensive care. The game he was playing in was first postponed, then ultimately suspended.
As The American Tribune wrote shortly after the incident, Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen was just one of countless people not only emotionally impacted by the frightening situation, but spiritually as well. Allen admitted in an interview that his faith was restored in God after seeing the miraculous recovery and salvation of his fellow teammate.
The American Tribune prefaced the interview, writing:
As the Buffalo Bills prepare to play against the Miami Dolphins in the Wild Card Round of the NFL playoffs, Quarterback Josh Allen is planning to go into the game as a changed man. Following Damar Hamlin‘s shocking injury, Allen says that he has experienced a total shift in beliefs as he regathers himself to pursue a Super Bowl ring.
During an interview on ESPN’s Kyle Brandt’s Basement, Allen spoke about how much Hamlin’s injury brought him closer to God and strengthened his faith along with that of his teammates. Allen said that before the incident he was unsure of his beliefs, but that is no longer the case now:
“It’s just kind of kind of a spiritual awakening really for me, and I know for a lot of other people that maybe didn’t have the strongest belief, or wasn’t one of the biggest, strongest Christian followers,” Allen stated.
“That kickoff return was pretty crazy, too. So there’s a lot of things that went on and a lot of … eye-opening situations that have stumbled upon us, or we’ve stumbled upon them. I think it’s been crazy, it’s been not fun, but at the same time it’s been very validating,” Allen continued.
“It was just spiritual. I was just going around and, I was just going around my team saying, ‘God is real.’ You can’t draw that one up, write that one up any better,” he finished.
Featured image: Screen shot from embedded Twitter video.
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