Damar Hamlin is a footballer who plays as a safety for the Buffalo Bills and is one of the most promising black athletes in the National Football League (NFL). At the beginning of 2023, Hamlin was just a regular NFL player—as regular as a football pro in the country’s top league can be. But in the first few months of the year, this celebrity’s name has been thrust into the limelight multiple times, and his fame has extended outside the NFL.
Damar Hamlin has been trending after collapsing during an NFL game and sparking fears that his career had ended. In the aftermath of this incident, Hamlin has gained more than a million followers, received over $8 million in donations to his charity, met Joe Biden, and helped introduce a bill.
Read on to learn about the status of Damar Hamlin and whether he’ll ever play again. I’ll also cover all the interesting things that have happened to Hamlin since his collapse, including being at the center of a renewed disinformation campaign about the harmful effects of COVID-19 vaccines.
What Is the Status of Damar Hamlin?
Hamlin’s collapse on the field was attributed to cardiac arrest, and it took nine days for him to be treated and discharged to his home, from where he would continue to recover. The incident was serious, with Hamlin having to use a breathing tube for some of the days he was in the hospital.
Three months after the collapse, when asked whether he saw himself returning to the field, Hamlin described his footballing future as uncertain—doctors couldn’t tell whether he’ll be back. Damlin’s return to football may happen, but it won’t be immediate, as his recovery may be a long journey.
Still, the Bills’ safety has expressed a desire to return to action if possible. And his general manager told reporters that Hamlin was trending in the right direction.
After Hamlin’s recovery, he became an outspoken advocate for improved access to Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs), which saw him tour Capitol Hill to meet President Biden and help introduce a bill.
Why Damar Hamlin Helped Introduce a Bill for More Defibrillators In Schools
After Damar Hamlin survived cardiac arrest during an NFL game, he started spreading awareness on the importance of convenient access to defibrillators. Hamlin received first aid for about nine minutes when he collapsed, and his survival is most likely due to the use of a defibrillator.
Cardiac arrest is where an individual loses consciousness, stops breathing, and their heart stops beating. In such a case, a defibrillator, which uses electric signals to get the heart beating again, can save a life.
Cardiac arrest also happens among student athletes, and when it does, the chances of survival significantly rise if the school has a defibrillator. However, it’s not mandatory for schools in the US to have AEDs, and there are many schools without them, which Hamlin aims to change.
The Access to AEDs Act, if successful, will see elementary and secondary schools receive funding to purchase AEDs. Hamlin hopes that schools will be as prepared to deal with cardiac arrests on the field as NFL teams.
Damar Hamlin and President Biden
After his collapse, Hamlin received an outpouring of support from the American public, from NFL officials and stars to politicians. Within a day after the incident, all NFL teams had changed their profile pictures to a photo of Hamlin as a show of solidarity.
But the support didn’t end there.
After his recovery, Hamlin met with President Biden, who praised the safety’s resilience, courage, and inspirational spirit.
Hamlin also met Chuck Schumer—the leader of the majority in the Senate—during the introduction of the Access to AEDs Act. The leader pledged support for the bill and committed to have it passed by the end of the year 2023.
Damar Hamlin Received More Than $8 Million in Donations After His Collapse
As part of their support to the NFL star, fans and the general public donated to a GoFundMe campaign that Hamlin had started in 2020. The campaign was for a Christmas toy drive for the children of Hamlin’s hometown—McKees Rocks in Pennsylvania.
With NFL executives and players also donating to the campaign, the amount raised had surpassed $8 million by 12th January, slightly more than a week after Hamlin’s collapse.
The Chasing M’s Foundation is a not-for-profit corporation that impacts its community through toy drives, back-to-school drives, and kids’ camps. Via an update on their GoFundMe campaign, the foundation said that it would work with the Hamlin family and the GoFundMe team to ensure that more than $9 million in donations was delivered safely.
Rumors That Damar Hamlin Suffered Cardiac Arrest Due to the Covid Vaccine
After Hamlin’s incident, anti-vaxxers like Louis Uridel made claims that the cardiac arrest had been caused by the COVID vaccine. Their reasoning was that there was no way a fit, 24-year-old athlete could have collapsed during a game.
However, these claims have since been invalidated, especially in light of similar incidents before the coronavirus. Also, according to Hamlin’s agent, his doctors didn’t see any connection between the incident and the COVID vaccine.