Following one of the most terrifying on-field incidents in the history of the NFL, sports fans and people more generally around the world are hoping as hard as they can that Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin will be OK.
Damar collapsed during the first quarter of Buffalo's Monday night game against the Cincinnati Bengals after tackling a receiver, and it was later reported that he had suffered from cardiac arrest. CPR was administered to Hamlin while he was on the field, and the NFL wound up suspending the rest of the game. He is now in critical condition. As fans everywhere keep Damar in their thoughts, many are wondering about his family.
Who are Damar Hamlin's parents?
He was raised in McKee's Rocks, Penn., and played football at Central Catholic High School in Pittsburgh. Damar was born to Nina and Mario Hamlin in 1998, and his parents were still very young when they had him.
“I’m extremely close to my family. My mom, she was 16 when she had me, and I just try to think about when I was 16 years old and I just couldn’t imagine having a little boy,” Damar told News 4 during an interview in 2021. “It was probably so stressful but both of my parents had me young, at 16, and pretty much since that point they put everything they had into me to get me to where we are right now today.”
Nina can often be seen on the sidelines or in other areas cheering Hamlin on during games and seems to be an important support for Hamlin. “It was us at first, just me and my mom and my dad, and they taught me hard work. They taught me you gotta work for everything and basically they just taught me all of the lessons of life,” he explained during the interview.
Damar has also expressed appreciation for both of his parents on Instagram, wishing his dad a happy Father's Day in June of 2022.
"We weathered every storm from hell and back together as a family. Not ashamed of our story cause it made us who we are. Happy Father’s Day pops. You taught me a lot in life but something that will always stick with me is making sacrifices for the people you love. Whatever it takes for the family," the post reads.
Mario was in jail for three and a half years while Damar was still young for selling drugs, but he returned to his family at the end of his sentence. He and Nina then opened an office cleaning business together, and Nina also ran a daycare to make ends meet.
ESPN released a statement from Damar's family on Jan. 3.
On Tuesday, Jan. 3, the family of Damar Hamlin released the following statement via ESPN: "Oh behalf of our family, we want to express our sincere gratitude for the love and support shown to Damar during this challenging time. We are deeply moved by the prayers, kind words, and donations from fans across the country.
"We also want to acknowledge the dedicated first responders and healthcare professionals at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center who have provided exceptional care to Damar. We feel so blessed to be part of the Buffalo Bills organization and to have their support. We also want to thank Coach Taylor and the Bengals for everything they've done. Your generosity and compassion mean the world to us.
"Please keep Damar in your prayers. We will release updates as soon as we have them."
Our thoughts are with Mario, Nina, and all of Damar's loved ones at this time.