• Sat. May 27th, 2023

Damar Hamlin makes extraordinary return to football following cardiac arrest

Damar Hamlin warms up before a game against the Cleveland Browns in November. USA Today
Damar Hamlin warms up before a game against the Cleveland Browns in November. USA Today 

Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin made a remarkable return to the team’s voluntary minicamp on Tuesday, just five months after suffering a cardiac arrest on the field. 

Despite being held back from full participation, Hamlin participated in individual drills and stretching portions, taking the necessary steps towards resuming his football career. Coach Sean McDermott expressed the team’s support for Hamlin, saying they are taking it one day at a time. The specific timetable for his full return to practice remains unknown, he said.

The 25-year-old Hamlin’s return is nothing short of extraordinary. In January, he had to be revived on the field after colliding with Cincinnati Bengals’ Tee Higgins in a distressing incident that shook the NFL. However, after being cleared by doctors, Hamlin attributes the cardiac arrest to commotio cordis. His determined mindset and eagerness to play again were evident as he actively participated in drills alongside his fellow defensive backs.

Hamlin’s practice routine is carefully managed, with constant communication between the player and the Bills medical staff. Defensive backs coach John Butler emphasised the importance of understanding and supporting Hamlin throughout his recovery process. The team’s cautious approach aligns with their handling of other players returning from major injuries. Given the extensive recuperation period and limited physical exertion, Hamlin’s slow progress is understandable.

Previously relying on a respirator for several weeks after his hospital release, Hamlin’s desire to return to the game is unwavering. He remains optimistic, asserting that the episode is unlikely to recur. Hamlin’s comeback announcement came after receiving clearance from both the Bills and independent specialists. His determination to overcome this life-altering event is admirable, and he views it as a new chapter rather than the end of his story.

Looking ahead, Hamlin’s focus is set on securing a roster spot as he enters his third season. The Bills have a series of voluntary practices followed by a mandatory minicamp and training camp, providing opportunities for him to showcase his progress. Coach Butler describes Hamlin’s journey as a miracle, acknowledging his impressive recovery since January.

Hamlin’s story has resonated throughout the NFL and beyond, with an outpouring of support and generous donations to his charitable organisation. His recovery has been celebrated, recently earning him the George Halas Award from the Professional Football Writers of America for overcoming adversity. 

As Hamlin continues to defy the odds, his return to the field will undoubtedly be a sight cherished by football fans worldwide.

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