Damar Hamlin spoke publicly for the first time Saturday, in a video explaining his belief that God is using him as a vessel to spread passion and love to the world. The Buffalo Bills defensive back nearly died January 2 when he went into cardiac arrest after tackling a Cincinnati Bengals receiver.
The short Instagram video begins with Hamlin walking into a Bills meeting room, taking a seat and explaining that he’s making "much progress" in his recovery. He had gathered his thoughts and now was "the right time" to speak.
What happened to me on ‘Monday Night Football,’ I feel is a direct example of God using me as a vessel to share my passion and my love directly from my heart with the entire world.
And now I’m able to give to kids and communities all across the world who need it the most,” the 24-year-old continued. And that’s always been my dream. That’s always been what I stood for and what I will continue to stand for.”
Hamlin said he’s come to peace over his collapse after tackling Bengals’ receiver Tee Martin and his heart stopped beating until doctors revived him. "It was just a lot to process within my own self — mentally, physically, even spiritually. It's just been a lot to process. But I can't tell you how appreciative I am of all the love, all the support and everything that's just been coming in my way."
Hamlin’s charity, Chasing Millions toy drive, has received $9 million in donations since his near-death experience on the football field in Cincinnati. He expressed his appreciation for the outpouring of generosity, and also thanked his Buffalo teammates.
Hamlin thanked the Bengals and players from around the league for their support by "putting team allegiance aside. You put humanity above team loyalty. You showed the world unity over division. I'm not surprised by it, but I'm deeply grateful and I will be forever thankful and indebted to that."
This is just the beginning of the impact that Hamlin wants to have on the world. He couldn't do what he’s doing without the support and love he’s receiving. “And I can't wait to continue to take y'all on this journey with me," he said.
God is using Hamlin’s journey and his battle to overcome adversity in a positive way, particularly by shoving NFL wokeness aside and putting life, death and eternal things in focus.