Buffalo Bills’ Damar Hamlin makes first statement after cardiac arrest

Buffalo Bills’ Damar Hamlin makes first statement after cardiac arrest

Damar Hamlin made his first public comments after suffering cardiac arrest during an NFL game earlier this week.

“When you give real love out into the world, it comes back to you 3 times over,” the Buffalo Bills safety said in an Instagram post Saturday. “The love has been overwhelming, but I’m grateful for every single person who prayed for me and reached out.”

“We have united the world after this,” the post continued. “If you know me, you know this is just gone, make me stronger. In a long way, keep praying for me!”

Hamlin shared another message on Twitter Saturday and expressed how much he felt the overwhelming support last week.

“The love feels so incredibly real. Regardless of race or religion, everyone unites in prayer!” he tweeted.

Hamlin, 24, was hospitalized in critical condition after collapsing on the field during Monday night’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals. After several days on a ventilator, the Buffalo Bills updated Friday that Hamlin was now breathing on his own and speaking with family and doctors.

In this Sept. 19, 2022 file photo, Buffalo Bills’ Damar Hamlin looks on after a game against the Tennessee Titans at Highmark Stadium, in Orchard Park, N.Y.

Timothy T. Ludwig/Getty Images, FILE

The team said in a Twitter update Saturday that Hamlin is “making continued progress” but “remains in critical condition” at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center.

The team said Hamlin “continues to breathe on his own” and that his “neurological function is excellent.”

Hamlin was able to FaceTime the Buffalo Bills players and staff on Friday, saying, “I love you guys.”

“The thing that makes me laugh is — he did it to guys right away — he leaned in,” Bills coach Sean McDermott told reporters Friday about the call. “He leaned on them, I think. He just has a few key things that they know him for that he does.”

Fans watch as an ambulance drives away with Buffalo Bills’ Damar Hamlin after he goes down after a hit against the Cincinnati Bengals during the first quarter at Paycor Stadium, Jan. 2, 2023, in Cincinnati.

Kirk Irwin/Getty Images

The Bills will play their first game since Hamlin’s injury on Sunday at 1:00 PM ET in Buffalo. McDermott told reporters Thursday that the Bills playing their next scheduled game this weekend is what “Damar would have wanted.”

All Bills players will wear “3” jerseys — Hamlin’s number — in the game, the NFL said.

After Hamlin collapsed on the field Monday night, many concerned fans showed their support through an online fundraiser set up by the young NFL star earlier. The fundraiser, which aims to help buy toys for children in need, has now received more than $8 million in donations.

ABC News’ Victoria Arancio and Matt Foster contributed to this report.

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