Just about five months ago, Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin very nearly lost his life in the middle of an NFL field.
Hamlin suffered a sudden cardiac arrest in a game against the Cincinnati Bengals and collapsed onto the turf.
He needed to be resuscitated and was taken via ambulance to a local hospital. It was an absolutely terrifying scene for all who witnessed and the NFL eventually cancelled the game.
Since then, Hamlin has thankfully made a thorough recovery. He was awake and alert shortly after the incident. He returned home from the hospital within 10 days, and eventually he began to integrate himself back into every day life.
One question loomed, however.
Would he play football again?
It seems silly in the grand scheme of things. But Hamlin has always maintained his desire to return to the field.
Appearing on SiriusXM’s Doctor Radio show Heart to Heart, NFL Players Association Medical Director Thom Mayer made a bold proclamation regarding Hamlin.
In response to a caller who asked whether Hamlin will ever play again, Mayer said this: “I don’t want to get into HIPAA issues, but I guarantee you that Damar Hamlin will play professional football again.” [via ProFootballTalk]
Two months after that comment, Hamlin announced his intent to return to the Buffalo Bills.
BREAKING: Damar Hamlin just announced that he plans on making a comeback to the NFL. pic.twitter.com/qa5Qip649p
— Arye Pulli (@AryePulli) April 18, 2023
But saying and doing are two very different things.
Buffalo Bills coach Sean McDermott claimed Tuesday that Hamlin had not been practicing, and that the team was taking things one step at a time.
Apparently one of those next steps was Hamlin returning to the field.
Well…despite what Sean McDermott said prior, Bills Safety Damar Hamlin was in fact out on the field practicing with the team today, participating during the individuals.
No helmet, but otherwise looking like just any other player on the roster. Amazing.@WGRZ #BillsMafia pic.twitter.com/hMX0eg8I2N
— J.T. Messinger (@JTMessinger) May 23, 2023
On Tuesday afternoon, 141 days after he lie unconscious on the field, Hamlin was back practicing with his teammates at organized team activities.
It was an absolutely remarkable sight, and fans couldn’t contain their excitement.
Such a Great sight to see https://t.co/KXbNnSBQ8q
— Trevor Rost (@TrevorRost6) May 23, 2023
I still remember crying, pacing, refreshing my feed constantly to see if Damar was even alive, seeing he had coded again and crying all over again. It’s incredible to see him out there. What an incredible man. 💙❤️ #BillsMafia https://t.co/Rgh3pmurou
— Lauren Elizabeth🌹 (@xLauren_Mx) May 23, 2023
This is so good to see. https://t.co/twyHlTM1lW
— Kayla (@kaylaf_99) May 23, 2023
Hamlin surely has more hurdles yet to clear. But this is perhaps the biggest one yet.