Damar Hamlin Thanks Everyone for Support in First Public Comments Since Cardiac Arrest


Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin, who continues to recover from cardiac arrest, thanked fans Saturday in his first public statement since collapsing and asked them to continue to pray.

Hamlin posted messages on instagram Y Twitter on Saturday expressing gratitude for supporters who, he said, have helped jumpstart his recovery.

“When you put true love out into the world, it comes back to you 3 more times,” Hamlin said on Instagram. “The love has been overwhelming, but I am grateful for each person who prayed for me and reached out. … On a long road, keep praying for me!”

In the messages, his first public note since the incident during Monday night’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Hamlin assured fans that the episode would only strengthen his resolve.

A joint statement from the Bills and the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, where Hamlin is being treated, said the 24-year-old was still in critical condition Saturday.

«Damar is making continuous progress in his recovery, but remains in critical condition,» the statement read. «He continues to breathe on his own and his neurological function is excellent.»

A painted 30-yard line in honor of Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin, #3, at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville, Fla., on Saturday.Courtney Culbreath/Getty Images

The Bills host the New England Patriots on Sunday. Buffalo players plan to wear patches on their jerseys with Hamlin’s number 3 to express support for his recovery, according to the NFL.

For pregame warmups, Bills players planned to wear jerseys emblazoned with the statement «Love for Damar 3,» the league said. The field at Highmark Stadium will include a temporary «3» for each number on the 30-yard line, he said.

The NFL expressed its gratitude to first responders who rushed to help Hamlin when he fell Monday, and encouraged teams to read a statement before games this weekend thanking those involved in his care.

Hamlin seems to score each day since Monday’s incident with marked improvement. On Friday, his breathing tube was removed and he, too, FaceTimed a team meeting, telling his fellow players, «I love you guys,» the Bills said.

His collapse, watched by millions, occurred just after the shoulder of a tackling Bengals receiver appeared to hit Hamlin’s chest. Any possible relationship between that contact and his cardiac arrest was still unclear.

Doctors at the University of Cincinnati were considering the possibility that Hamlin suffered from an event called «commotio cordis» in which a blow to the chest within a 20-millisecond window in the cardiac cycle can rapidly disrupt vital signs.

«It can trigger an abnormal heart rhythm and send you into cardiac arrest,» said MSNBC contributor Dr. Uché Blackstock, a leading emergency room physician.

The biggest concern in such an event, he said, is its impact on brain function, since oxygen can be cut off or limited. In Hamlin’s case, he said, the quick response from the team and first responders, as well as his first-rate care at the university, have resulted in an ideal recovery path thus far.

«He’s lucky,» Blackstock said. «This is the most desirable outcome. And this is not a common outcome.»

Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said Saturday that Hamlin’s creeping rebound gives him hope.

«To see his recovery from what seemed like a tragedy has certainly been a triumph at this time,» he said.

Brittany Kubicko Y T.J. Swigart contributed.

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