Damar Hamlin spent time in the Buffalo Bills locker room ahead of their clash with the Cincinnati Bengals in the NFL playoffs on Sunday.
During the Bills’ crucial regular season finale against the Bengals on January 3, Hamlin suffered a cardiac arrest and fell to the turf midway through the first quarter after he tackled receiver Tee Higgins. It appeared to be an innocuous tackle but the 24-year-old had to be revived on the field amid worrying scenes before he was rushed to the University of Cincinnati hospital.
The match was quickly suspended with players clearly unable to continue while there was a tremendous outpouring of support for Hamlin and his family as news filtered through regarding the severity of his condition. Thankfully, Hamlin remarkably recovered and has been fully discharged from hospital.
Hamlin still faces a lengthy rehabilitation as it remains just three weeks since the horrific incident saw him need to be resuscitated on the field in Cincinnati. According to NFL reporter Dianna Russini, the safety was with the Bills in the locker room ahead of their Divisional Round clash with the Bengals on Sunday, with the team posting a video of him arriving on social media.
While he was discharged from Buffalo General Medical Center last week, Hamlin still faces hurdles in his recovery. The release came five days after his doctors announced the NFL ace was breathing on his own, walking, talking and there were no signs of neurological damage.
“Damar still requires oxygen and is having his heart monitored regularly to ensure there are no setbacks or after effects," Hamlin’s marketing representative Jordon Rooney said. “Though he is able to visit the team's facility, Damar is not in position to travel often, and requires additional rest to help his body heal.”
The update comes after Buffalo head coach Sean McDermott revealed Hamlin has begun making regular visits to the team’s facility. McDermott insisted he was taking it ‘a baby step at a time’ and added Hamlin is ‘dipping his toe back in here and getting on the road to just getting back to himself’.
Hamlin is yet to make a public appearance while he has not spoken publicly outside of his social media accounts. He live-tweeted while watching Buffalo's 35-23 regular season finale win over the New England Patriots from his hospital bed at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center on January 8.
Last weekend, Hamlin also live-tweeted while watching from home as the Bills secured a 34-31 win over the Miami Dolphins in their Wild Card playoff clash. However, the game against the Bengals carries great significance given their math was suspended when Hamlin collapsed, which may speak to why he is in attendance.
On Thursday, Bengals receiver Higgins said he couldn't be more appreciative of the support given to him from Hamlin’s family. The 24-year-old said: “Just be happy to see him. I haven't really spoken to him. Just letting his family do what he needs to do with all his loved ones.”