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Bills safety Damar Hamlin cleared to resume all activities, GM Brandon Beane says


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Bills safety Damar Hamlin announced his intention to resume playing in the NFL during a Tuesday media availability. His announcement came hours after general manager Brandon Beane said the defensive back had been cleared to resume all football activities. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Hamlin said he suffered Commotio Cordis during the Jan. 2 “Monday Night Football” matchup against the Bengals.
  • Hamlin: “They almost lost me. I died on national TV, in front of the whole world …That right there is just the biggest blessing.”
  • Hamlin also said it was a wonderful feeling seeing the support for his charity and that he plans to “save a generation.”
  • He added his heart is still in the game and and that he aims to prove to himself that he can return and accomplish his goals.


Beane said Hamlin saw three specialists and all were in agreement that he is fully cleared to resume all football activities. He added that Hamlin is in a great headspace and is at the Bills facility and is working out.

Hamlin, 25, said he still has work to do as he continues his recovery after going into cardiac arrest in January. But was excited to be back with the team.

Hamlin collapsed after tackling Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins late in the first quarter of a Week 17 matchup. Hamlin got up and took a few steps after the tackle before collapsing and going into cardiac arrest. The response on the field was immediate as Bills medical personnel rushed to his aid and stabilized his head and neck.

Hamlin was taken from Cincinnati’s Paycor Stadium to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, placed in the intensive care unit in critical condition and sedated.
After spending six days at UC Medical Center, he was released from the Ohio hospital on Jan. 9 and transported to Buffalo to continue his recovery at a local hospital.

Hamlin was discharged from Buffalo General Medical Center/Gates Vascular Institute to continue his recovery at home later that month.

What they’re saying

Hamlin said he had a checkup with a doctor last Friday and that the doctor “recommended going back to playing” because it would help me with the mental health aspect of recovery.

He also discussed the notoriety his recovery has drawn.

“Not to sound cliche but the ‘wow moment’ is everyday,” Hamlin said. “Just being able to wake up and just take deep breathes and live a peaceful life, to have a family to have people around me that love me that care about me and for those people to have me in their lives.

“They almost lost me. I died on national TV, in front of the whole world …That right there is just the biggest blessing. For me to still have my people and for my people to still have me.”

Hamlin has seen multiple specialists, including one most recently on Friday, and all were in agreement about clearing him for football activities, Beane said.

“It’s not 2-to-1 or 3-to-1 or anything like that. They’re all in lockstep of what this was and that he is cleared (to) resume full activities just like anyone else who was coming back from an injury or whatever,” Beane said. “So he’s been cleared. He’s here, and he is of the mindset, he’s in a great headspace to come back and make his return.

Hamlin said he’s been working to and will continue to work to provide increased access to AEDs and CPR training in order to help decrease the number of Commotio Cordis deaths in youth sports.

What’s next for Hamlin?

Hamlin being cleared for all activities was not an announcement the Bills took lightly. They have routinely pushed off that topic throughout the offseason in wanting to be extra sure before making any declarations. After seeing three different specialists since returning from Buffalo, Hamlin is ready to ramp back up toward football. They are likely going to take it extremely slow with Hamlin, even in something as light as voluntary workouts.

Beane was quick to correct that Hamlin was working out inside the building after being asked if Hamlin was doing everything with his teammates Tuesday. They have also placed a significant emphasis on Hamlin’s mental health for a potential return to football. They will likely make routine check-ins with Hamlin from both a physical and mental perspective as the intensity continues to ramp up through the spring and summer. — Buscaglia

How his return impacts Buffalo’s roster

Hamlin’s return to football won’t impact the team’s starting lineup at all as they have two longtime starters at safety in Micah Hyde and Jordan Poyer ahead of him. They also signed free agent Taylor Rapp to a one-year deal to be Hyde and Poyer’s primary backup.

But what Hamlin could do, as long as he continues to check every box along the way, is to fill out their roster and be their fourth or fifth safety that can play special teams on game days. Hamlin’s clearance for football activities could alter the team’s need to draft a safety this year as they now have a possible full bank of players at the position. — Buscaglia


“There he goes. One of God's own prototypes.

A high-powered mutant of some kind, never even considered for mass production.

Too weird to live, and too rare to die.”

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