Everyone who watches football knows it can be quite risky to bet on who will win or lose — but playing football is even more dangerous. As one of the most hazardous sports to exist, American football and the NFL have faced scrutiny over the years for consistent player injuries.
The pro athlete collapsed on the field just after tackling Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins. Paramedics were called immediately onto the field, and Damar was rushed to the hospital in critical condition. Thankfully, he showed signs of improvement and made a remarkable recovery. Now, just a few months later, Damar is returning to the public eye.
Damar Hamlin will rejoin the Bills after his recovery.
Now that the football season is almost back in full swing for the 2023–2024 season, Damar is expected to come back to his position on the Bills' roster. There was definitely some uncertainty in the offseason about what the future of his career would look like. However, after training camp, Damar made the 54-player roster.
How is Damar Hamlin's health?
As he continues recovering, many can't help but wonder if Damar will be able to play in the 2023–2024 NFL season. His status remains in the air, but Bills head coach Sean McDermott addressed the situation at the Annual League Meeting on March 24, 2023.
"The amount of courage it's going to take to re-engage again is unbeknownst to many of us," Sean told NFL Network's Judy Battista, noting that Damar's emotional state is just as important as his physical condition. "I'm ready to support him in any direction he decides to go, even if it's last minute."
What exactly happened to Damar Hamlin?
Injuries are frequent in football — too frequent for many critics of the game — but rarely does a game get postponed due to a player injury. That’s how fans knew that Damar’s injury was a serious one. However, at the time, what happened was unclear to most who were watching, even those in the stadium.
So, what did happen?
Buffalo Bills safety Damar tackled Cincinnati wide receiver Tee Higgins just 5 minutes and 58 seconds into their Monday night game. After Damar stood up from the tackle, he immediately collapsed, and medics were called onto the field. Reporter Kelsey Conway told CNN, “It was just a really tragic, horrifying scene.”
Ultimately, it was revealed that Damar underwent cardiac arrest after the play ended. Unlike a heart attack, cardiac arrest is when an electrical disturbance causes the heart to suddenly stop beating. A heart attack can cause cardiac arrest, but a heart attack is a “circulation” problem.
While cardiac arrest is extremely rare for someone healthy of Damar’s age, it can be caused by arrhythmias, although it can also be more deadly than a heart attack alone. Even if a patient is brought back from cardiac arrest, they may never be able to function normally again. Thankfully, that doesn't appear to be the case for Damar.
Some fans have attempted to blame his cardiac arrest on the COVID-19 vaccine, but doctors and scientists have agreed that it was likely a cause of blunt trauma.
Soon after he collapsed, Damar was given CPR and rushed to the hospital. According to reports, Damar's tragic injury left both his teammates and McDermott "in tears."
At first, the future looked pretty grim for the football superstar — thankfully, it wasn't long before his health took a turn for the better. Just days later, reports confirmed that — thanks to the doctors at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center — he had made tremendous progress. And on Jan. 9, 2023, his family gave fans another promising update.
Only one week after his injury, Damar revealed that he had been discharged from the hospital.
"Headed home to Buffalo today with a lot of love on my heart," the athlete wrote. He also said, "Watching the world come together around me on Sunday was truly an amazing feeling."
He added that the love he received from his family and fans alike was "bigger than football!"