'I'm Blessed': Damar Hamlin Finally Reveals His Diagnosis as He Announces Return to Football


Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin discussed his diagnosis with the media on Tuesday as he marked his official return to playing professional football.

The player also finally discussed the diagnosis that left him hospitalized after he went into cardiac arrest earlier this year.

Hamlin, 25, took a hit on Jan. 2 during a “Monday Night Football” game against the Cincinnati Bengals.

Following what appeared to be a mild collision with Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins, Hamlin went down.

First responders immediately undertook what proved to be life-saving measures, and Hamlin spent the next week in a Cincinnati hospital.

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The game was suspended and was never rescheduled.

On Tuesday, it was announced by the team that Hamlin had been cleared to return to football.

“He is fully cleared. He’s here, and he is of the mindset. He’s in a great headspace to come back and make his return,” Bills general manager Brandon Beane said, Yahoo Sports reported.

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Hamlin addressed reporters for roughly 12 minutes on Tuesday afternoon, and after saying “I’m blessed,” he immediately dove right into discussing the injury that he had previously declined to address in public.

“The diagnosis of, pretty much, what happened to me was commotio cordis,” Hamlin said roughly 90 seconds into the media conference.

“It’s a direct blow at a specific point in your heartbeat that causes cardiac arrest,” he said. “Five to seven seconds later, you fall out, and that’s pretty much what everybody’s seen Jan. 2 of this year.”

Hamlin, who is heavily involved in charitable activities for young people, noted the condition is “the leading cause of death in youth athletes across all sports.”

“So, that’s something that I personally will be taking a step in to make a change,” he said.

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He discussed how he has been dealing with anxiety. “I died on national TV in front of the whole world,” he said, while praising his teammates for their support during his recovery.

Hamlin said following the update that he is looking forward to getting back on the field and resuming his promising NFL career.

He also said he will be led into all future endeavors by faith rather than by fear.

“I’m trusting God,” Hamlin said. “I’m walking by faith.”

In an interview with Michael Strahan on ABC’s “Good Morning America” in February, the host asked him to discuss what caused his collapse.

“Umm … That’s something I want to stay away from,” Hamlin said at the time.

The American Heart Association issued a fact sheet about commotio cordis soon after Hamlin addressed the media Tuesday.

“Commotio cordis (pronounced ke-MO-she-o-KORD-is) comes from the Latin for ‘agitation of the heart,’” the association explained. “It was first described in the 1700s, but most of what is known about it has been learned since the 1990s.”

The association added, “Put simply, it’s a rare cardiac arrest immediately following a blow to the chest. The impact induces a potentially lethal heart rhythm disturbance, or arrhythmia, called ventricular fibrillation.”

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Johnathan Jones has worked as a reporter, an editor, and producer in radio, television and digital media.
Johnathan "Kipp" Jones has worked as an editor and producer in radio and television. He is a proud husband and father.