In a six-minute video released Saturday, Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin spoke at-length for the first time since suffering a near-fatal cardiac arrest after making a tackle during a Week 17 game against the Cincinnati Bengals. In the introduction to the video, Hamlin explains that he waited to speak until the time was right, explaining that his situation was a lot to process mentally, physically, and spiritually while also citing the end of the Bills' season.
Hamlin began by expressing his gratitude and appreciation for the support that has been extended towards him, before thanking an extensive amount of people and groups.
A special message from our guy @HamlinIsland. ❤️💙#LoveForDamar | #ForDamar pic.twitter.com/YF28bzeLJA— Buffalo Bills (@BuffaloBills) January 28, 2023
"What happened to me on Monday Night Football, I feel, is a direct example of God using me as a vessel to share my passion and my love directly from my heart with the entire world," Hamlin said. "And now I'm able to give it back to kids and communities all across the world who need it the most. That's always been my dream, that's always been what I've stood for and what I will continue to stand for."
Hamlin then thanked the Bills' training, athletic, and medical staffs as well as the staffs of UC Medical Center and Buffalo General Hospital, all of whom were involved with his life-saving treatment and subsequent care. Hamlin then thanked his mother and father, his little brother, and other family and friends before thanking the Bills' fanbase.
"Ever since I became a Buffalo Bill, it's been nothing but genuine love and support. Not even only for me, but everyone's situation," Hamlin said. "No matter what it was, Bills Mafia jumped behind it and gave 110% support, love, no matter the situation. With this happening to me, I didn't feel anything short of the love. And it really helped me stay encouraged to get through the toughest moments and the toughest times. I really can't thank you enough."
Hamlin then thanked his Bills teammates before going on to extend his thanks to the city of Cincinnati, the Cincinnati Bengals, and the rest of the NFL for the outpouring of support that was shown in the days and week of football that followed Hamlin's medical episode.
"You put humanity above team loyalty. You showed the world unity over division," Hamlin said. "I am not surprised by it, but I am deeply grateful and I will be forever thankful and indebted to that."
Finally, Hamlin thanked the children who sent him letters and gifts while he was recovering, and he also thanked those who donated to Chasing M's Foundation. The Foundation, which Hamlin started prior to his NFL career to give back to children in his native Western Pennsylvania, received nearly $8 million in donations after his near-fatal injury.
"This is just the beginning of the impact that I wanted to have on the world," Hamlin said in closing. "And with God's guidance, I will continue to do wonderful and great things. I couldn't do this without any of the support and the love, and I can't wait to continue to take you all on this journey with me."
Midway through the first quarter of the Bills' Week 17 game against the Bengals, Hamlin collided with Tee Higgins as he tackled the Bengals' star wide receiver after a gain of 13 yards. Hamlin immediately collapsed upon standing, prompting the Bills' medical staff to administer emergency medical treatment. Hamlin was taken off the field via ambulance and transported to UC Medical Center after receiving CPR and an automated external defibrillation (AED), where he remained in critical condition for some time. The game was abandoned and never resumed.
Hamlin, a sixth-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, started 13 games this season in place of an injured Micah Hyde.