Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin spoke publicly on Saturday for the first time since suffering a cardiac arrest on the field earlier this month in a video posted on social media.
In the video posted on Twitter by the Bills, Hamlin said he decided to wait and speak publicly at the right time as the situation was “a lot to process,” but thanked medical personnel and fans for their support.
“What happened to me on Monday Night Football, I feel was 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 it back to kids and communities all across the world who need it the most and that’s always been my dream, what I stood for and what I continue to stand for.”
Hamlin’s Chasing M’s Foundation community toy drive has raised over $9 million as of Saturday.
The 24-year-old followed by thanking the Bills medical staff by name for their immediate care, as well as the first responders at the University of Cincinnati Hospital and doctors at Buffalo Medical Center.
The video interview was Hamlin’s first since he collapsed after making a tackle in the first quarter of the Bills-Bengals game on January 2. Doctors and trainers gave Hamlin CPR on the field and he was rushed out of the stadium in an ambulance, leaving players, coaches, fans and those watching on TV in shock and unsure whether he was alive.
Medical officials said he suffered a cardiac arrest, meaning his heart abruptly stopped beating. The game was postponed and ultimately canceled.
Since then, Hamlin has made remarkable progress, and he was discharged from a Buffalo medical center on January 11.
Hamlin was present at the Bills’ divisional round match-up against the Cincinnati Bengals last Sunday, in which the lost Bills 27-10.