Bills’ Damar Hamlin returns in first regular season game since cardiac arrest
Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin played in his first regular season game since suffering a cardiac arrest episode during a regular season game last season.
Hamlin took part in the Bills’ special teams unit in their Week 4 contest against AFC East divisional rival the Miami Dolphins on Sunday, according to The Associated Press.
The 25-year-old safety also appeared on the team’s kickoff converge unit after his team, led by star quarterback Josh Allen, scored on their opening drive.
“It’s go time,” the Bills wrote in a post on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter. The post also featured a hand-shaped heart emoji and a video of Hamlin running onto the field during pregame ceremonies, getting a warm welcome by the home team crowd.
This comes as Hamlin, a former standout at the University of Pittsburgh, sat out the first three games of the season. Hamlin got the nod to play due to an injury to the Bills’ starting safety Jordan Poyer.
It’s been nearly nine months since Hamlin had to be resuscitated twice by medical officials on the field and at a medical facility after he suffered a cardiac arrest episode when he completed his tackle of Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins during the first quarter of a Monday night contest between the teams.
Hamlin stood up after the play was over, only to collapse to the ground a few seconds later.
Hamlin was released from a Cincinnati area medical facility a week after suffering the cardiac arrest episode. The NFL had to cancel the Bills-Bengals contest and modify its playoff bracket due to the incident.
In response to the incident, fans have raised more than $9.1 million for Hamlin’s charitable foundation, the Chasing M’s Foundation Community Toy Drive, through the foundation’s GoFundMe page, surpassing its initial $2,500 goal.
Hamlin recently visited Capitol Hill in an effort to push for the passing of the Access to AEDs Act, bipartisan legislation that would provide grants for elementary and secondary schools to purchase automated external defibrillators and provide training in CPR.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.