Damar Hamlin has broken his silence and spoken for the first time since suffering a cardiac arrest on the field during the Buffalo Bills' Monday Night Football game against the Cincinnati bengals.
Hamlin took a hit from Bengals receiver Tee Higgins and suffered a cardiac arrest almost immediately. Paramedics rushed onto the field to restart his heart using CPR and a defibrillator, before taking him to the University of Cincinnati Hospital for further treatment.
After he was released, Hamlin was in attendance as the Bills' season ended at the hands of the Bengals last week, but the 24-year-old safety didn't give any interviews at the game. Instead, he released a lengthy video to his Instagram account on Saturday night to explain where he was in his recovery, and to thank those who cared for him in his hour of need.
Hamlin said: "Now that my brothers have closed out a strong winning season, as I continue to make so much progress recovering, I think it's a good time to start sharing some things. I think it was important for me to wait and speak publicly for the first time as it took a long time to process within myself physically, mentally and spiritually, it's been a lot to process.
"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 the heart to the entire world.
"I'm able to give it back to the kids and communities all across the world who need it most, and that's always been my dream, that's always been what I've stood for and what I'll continue to stand for."
Hamlin attended last weekend's game in a suite at Highmark Stadium, sitting alongside his mother and younger brother. And the safety praised his family for staying by his side throughout his battles in hospital.
He continued: "[Thank you] To my Mum and Dad, who were my anchors and never left my side the entire time, to my little bro, who is my 'why', my reason for wanting to be my best self every day, and to my family and friends, who supported me in many ways during this time."
He concluded: "This is just the beginning of the impact I want to have on the world, and with God's guidance I will continue to do great things, I couldn't do this without any of the support and love, and I can't wait to take y'all on this journey with me."