Buffalo Bills' Damar Hamlin fully cleared for football activities

The safety collapsed on the field during a game last season.

April 18, 2023, 2:10 PM

Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin has been fully cleared for football activities after collapsing and needing lifesaving CPR during a Monday Night Football game in early January.

"He is fully cleared. He's here," general manager Brandon Beane told reporters in a pre-draft press conference Tuesday. "He's in a great headspace to come back and make his return."

Beane said Hamlin met with three specialists, most recently on Friday, and all of them were in "lockstep" on allowing Hamlin to play again.

PHOTO: FILE - Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin reacts after a play during the first half of the team's NFL football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Oct. 9, 2022, in Orchard Park.
Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin reacts after a play during the first half of the team's NFL football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Oct. 9, 2022, in Orchard Park.
Joshua Bessex/AP, FILE

"He's cleared, resumed full activities, just like anyone else who's coming back from an injury," Beane said.

Hamlin, who spoke to reporters Tuesday afternoon, said he was anxious initially getting back on the field.

"My heart is still in the game. I love the game," Hamlin said, adding he wants to show he can get back on the field. "It's something I want to prove to myself, not nobody else."

He continued, "I just want to show people that fear is a choice, that you can keep going at something without knowing the answers, without knowing what's at the end of tunnel."

Hamlin also posted a video to Instagram Tuesday afternoon showing him working out.

Hamlin went into cardiac arrest on Jan. 2 in a game against the Cincinnati Bengals. He briefly stood up but collapsed after making a tackle. The training staff rushed on the field and medical professionals restarted the 25-year-old's heart on the field.

The game was paused and eventually canceled entirely as the seriousness of the injury became apparent.

He was taken to a nearby hospital and remained on a ventilator for three days. He slowly woke up and was able to communicate immediately with doctors and family, with his first question being whether the Bills won the game. Days later was flown back to Buffalo to continue his recovery.

Hamlin said Tuesday that all of the doctors he saw agreed he suffered from commotio cordis, a condition that occurs when the heart's rhythm is disrupted due to a blow to the chest that lands at a very specific moment in the heartbeat.

"We're super excited for Damar," Bills head coach Sean McDermott said Tuesday. "He's moving forward one step at a time here. He's been cleared from a physical standpoint."

Hamlin told ABC News' Michael Strahan in mid-February that he planned to return to football.

"I'm just thankful [God] gave me a second chance, you know, just to live normally and just come out almost without a scratch on me," Hamlin told Strahan. "Just to be able to keep going."

The 24-year-old says he feels grateful to be alive in an interview with Michael Strahan.
The 24-year-old says he feels grateful to be alive in an interview with Michael Strahan.

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