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Buffalo Bills player Damar Hamlin raises awareness for American Heart Month

Bills safety Damar Hamlin promotes heart health at Empire State Building
Bills safety Damar Hamlin promotes heart health at Empire State Building 02:42

NEW YORK -- As part of National Wear Red Day, the Empire State Building hosted a special guest Friday -- NFL star Damar Hamlin.

The Buffalo Bills player was on hand to raise awareness about protecting your heart.

"I just want to give a big thank you to the American Heart Association for having me here," Hamlin said.

With a message of hope and good health -- and with the flip of a switch -- National Wear Red Day became electrified and reflected on the New York City landmark.

"We're raising the awareness," Hamlin said.

The Bills safety went into cardiac arrest on national television, his heart stopping on the field right after a tackle during Monday Night Football on Jan. 2, 2023.

He's healed, he's back in the game, and he's a heart health hero.

"How does it feel to know that you've become a role model in more ways than one?" CBS New York's Dave Carlin asked.

"I always wanted to live a life of purpose and meaning, and it gives me deeper meaning than any sport could have," Hamlin said.

He explained what nearly killed him was the direct blow at  a specific point in his heartbeat, causing cardiac arrest.

"I've always been in touch with myself, you know -- mind, body, soul, spirit," Hamlin said.

Dr. Joseph Puma, an interventional cardiologist and founder of Sorin Medical, explained to us why Hamlin is a perfect spokesman on this topic.

"It's great that Damar is out there raising awareness ... Fortunately for him, there were amazing emergency medical technicians who were so exquisitely well-trained, they saved his life," Puma said. "If patients have tightness, pressure or discomfort in their chest, if they're short of breath, particularly when they're exerting themself, tired or fatigued, discomfort in their throat or their jaw or pain that goes to the back, they should seek attention."

Puma showed us heart-scanning technology used at Sorin, explaining that CT first can make the difference between life and death, paving the way for effective treatments before heart attacks strike.

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