Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin made a public appearance on stage during the NFL Honors ceremony Thursday night, surrounded by the first responders who helped save his life.
This was Hamlin’s second appearance in Phoenix after he accepted the NFLPA’s most prestigious award, the Alan Page Community Award, on Wednesday.
Hamlin walked out onto the stage to a standing ovation following a video describing his recovery from cardiac arrest played on the screen. The Buffalo Bills player took the opportunity to thank the medical team for coming to his aid following the incident and for helping him throughout his recovery.
“The journey will continue.” ❤️💙
— NFL (@NFL) February 10, 2023
During his speech Hamlin acknowledged that his recovery journey is not yet complete.”My entire life I felt like God was using me to give others hope and now with a new set of circumstances, I can only say he was doing what he’s always done,” Hamlin said. “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 suffered a sudden cardiac arrest when he tackled Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgin during the first quarter of the game on Jan 2. He was sent to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center where he spent around a week before he was sent to another hospital in Buffalo, before being released two days later.
In the days after Hamlin was sent to the hospital, his toy drive fundraiser, “Chasing M’s,” received more than 9 million dollars in donations, with the money being used towards buying toys for children from his hometown in McKees Rocks, Pennsylvania.
“Sudden cardiac arrest is something I never would have chosen to be a part of my story, but that’s because our own visions are too small even when we think we see the whole picture,” Hamlin said. “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.”