Damar Hamlin says he’s doing ‘great’, but emotional recovery will take time

(The Hill) — Just over a month after collapsing during an NFL game in Cincinnati, Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin is now publicly reflecting on his “remarkable” recovery from cardiac arrest he suffered after making a tackle in early January.

Hamlin, 24, said he was grateful to be able to “live a normal life” and come out of the situation “without a scratch.”

“I’m doing great,” Hamlin said when asked how he was doing physically on ABC’s “Good Morning America.” “Every morning, every evening, I take 10 deep breaths and it puts everything into perspective.”

Hamlin’s interview comes after what doctors said was a “remarkable” recovery from cardiac arrest he suffered after making a tackle midway through the first quarter of the Buffalo Bills-Cincinnati Bengals game earlier this year.

Bills assistant athletic trainer Denny Kelington immediately gave Hamlin CPR. Hamlin said he owed Kellington his life.

“That night, he was literally the savior of my life,” Hamlin said. “It’s something I’m really grateful for and don’t take for granted.”

After the collapse, Hamlin was taken to a hospital in Cincinnati, where he spent several days in the intensive care unit on a ventilator. Four days after the cardiac arrest, he was able to communicate with his family and teammates.

Hamlin said he remembers the preparations leading up to the game against the Bengals, which was a key game for both teams ahead of the playoffs. But when asked what he remembered about the moments before he crashed, Hamlin said it wasn’t something he wanted to get into.

“It’s something I don’t want to get into too much detail about,” Hamlin said after a long pause.

He admitted that while he felt great physically after the injury, he was still “working his way through” the emotional impact.

“I’m still working on things,” Hamlin said. “I’m still trying to process all the emotions and trauma that comes from dealing with that kind of situation.”

Hamlin used the incident to launch a campaign with the American Heart Association to try to get 3 million people to sign up to learn CPR.

Hamlin said he hopes to return to football “eventually,” but said it’s something he’s putting in God’s hands.

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