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Damar Hamlin plays in first regular-season NFL game since cardiac arrest

Damar Hamlin returns to football
Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin returns to football 03:19

Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin took the field in a regular-season NFL game for the first time since he suffered a cardiac arrest mid-game last season.

After being a healthy scratch during the first three weeks of the 2023 season, Hamlin was used on the Bills' special teams unit for kick returns Sunday. Hamlin didn't record any official stats during the game, but the Bills came away with a convincing 48-20 win over the Miami Dolphins.

"I think it was more so about promising to myself than anything else, just showing myself that I have the courage, I have the strength, that I have the pride, everything, all those words, in me to be able to go through something traumatic and to be able to come back from it," Hamins said after the game, according to The Associated Press."To be able to still do what I love at the highest level in the world is amazing."  

Prior to the game, the Bills posted a video of him in uniform running onto the field alongside his teammates on social media. 

Sunday's game was Hamlin's first since he took a blow to the chest that caused his heart to stop during a Monday Night Football game on Jan. 2, 2023, against the Cincinnati Bengals.

Earlier this summer, Hamlin played during a Bills preseason opener at home hosting the Indianapolis Colts, according to CBS Sports. He recorded three solo tackles in the game and helped the Bills earn a 23-19 victory.

It's been a long road back to competitive play for Hamlin, who made headlines when he collapsed after the play. Officials later said that Hamlin experienced a cardiac arrest and had his heartbeat restored on the field before being taken away in an ambulance. He was in critical condition, and his uncle said that Hamlin had to use a ventilator. Soon, though, the player began to show "remarkable improvement," according to his team and doctors, and he was able to speak to his teammates

Hamlin was discharged from the University of Cincinnati Medical Center to Buffalo General Hospital in New York about a week after the cardiac arrest. He was sent home from Buffalo General Hospital on Jan. 11, nine days after being first hospitalized. 

Hamlin continued to support the team during the remainder of the season. On Jan. 14, days after being released from the hospital, he visited his teammates at practice, and the next day he posted on social media about cheering the team on from home as they beat the Miami Dolphins in a close playoff game. On Jan. 22, he watched from the stands as the Bills played the Bengals again. 

The team in April said that Hamlin was "working out" with them three months after his collapse. In late July, the team said Hamlin was a "full go" at training camp ahead of the preseason.

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