OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin has shown his face in a new video message that is another sign that he is on the mend.
The 24 year old issued the video, titled “Thank You: A message from Damar Hamlin,” on Saturday to the delight of his fans.
“Now that my brothers have closed out a strong, winning season, as I continue to make so much progress recovering, I think it’s finally a good time to share a few things,” he said in the video shared to Instagram. “I think it was important for me to wait and speak publicly at the right time, as 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 my way.
“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,” the safety, who suffered cardiac arrest after a tackle during a nationally televised football game, said. “And 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. That’s always been what I stood for and what I will continue to stand for.”
He thanked the medical staff of his team and the doctors at the University of Cincinnati Medical center, who “acted willfully and skillfully to save my life.”
He also thanked his family and friends who checked in on him and fans who showed their concern.
“With this happening to me, I didn’t feel anything short of the love, and it really helped me stay encouraged to get through the toughest moments and the toughest times. I really can’t thank you enough,” he said.
“Just to put team allegiance aside, to root for one kid’s life and just the humanity of a player that’s wearing Buffalo blue, to put humanity above team loyalty, you showed the world unity over division. I’m, not surprised by it, but I’m deeply grateful. I’ll be forever thankful and indebted to that,” the NFL star said.
“I couldn’t do this without any of the support and the love, and I can’t wait to continue to take y’all on this journey with me,” he said.
View this post on Instagram
This month retired tight end Benjamin Watson made a Biblical reference during an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper on Thursday regarding the collapse and subsequent recovery of Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin this week, noting that the incident is a stark reminder of just how precious life is and how fast things can change.
In addition, Watson, who won a Super Bowl in his rookie year in 2004 with the New England Patriots and who regularly talks about his Christian faith, also told Cooper “God provides” answers through faith.
Hamlin collapsed on the field roughly midway through the first quarter during the Bills’ “Monday Night Football” game against the AFC rival Cincinnati Bengals after he made a tackle on a wide receiver. As fans and teammates looked on in horror, Hamlin’s heart stopped, and he was administered CPR for several minutes on the field as he was attended to by team medical personnel and paramedics before being transported to an area hospital, where he remains in critical but stable condition in the ICU.
Before the interview, however, the Bills franchise announced that the 24-year-old had “shown remarkable improvement over the past 24 hours.”
Watson, who also played football for a number of seasons with the New Orleans Saints, said the collapse of Hamlin — an elite athlete in his prime — is a somber reminder of how precious life really is. He added that he hoped the tragedy would serve as a reminder for all to think about what could happen after they leave this earth.
“On the flip side, with such a tragic event, there is a tremendous opportunity,” Watson told the CNN host.
“Part of my prayers right now, Anderson, is for the players in both of those locker rooms, for the chaplains who I know very well — who are right now counseling and comforting players who saw a brother in a near-death experience and who is still fighting for his life — because the questions about what happens after this life, where will you spend eternity … are coming up for all of us, not just for the football players,” he said.
“But thank God that he provides an answer through his son, Jesus Christ,” he added.