Updated 1/9/2023 at 3:40 p.m.:
Damar Hamlin’s story continues to inspire football fans. According to CNN, on Monday, a week after suffering a cardiac arrest and collapsing on the field during a game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin has been released from the University of Cincinnati Medical Center.
Throughout the week, doctors have touted Damar’s “remarkable progress” and now it seems all that hard work has paid off, as the 24-year-old player is headed home. He still has a long road ahead of him, but this news is miraculous after what we witnessed during that infamous Monday Night Football game on Jan. 2.
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Amid the good news that Damar Hamlin is on the road to recovery and per CNN, could be released from the hospital in the coming days, the NFL kicked off the final week of its regular season with league-wide tributes to the Buffalo Bills safety. Every single team showed their support for the 24-year-old player, who collapsed after suffering cardiac arrest during a Jan. 2 game against the Cincinnati Bengals.
During warm ups, players throughout the league wore t-shirts that read “Love for Damar,” while on the field, the number three—which is Hamlin’s jersey number—was outlined in Bills colors. Several stadiums featured messages of support emblazoned on their marquees, inside the facility or prominently displayed outside the venue.
Before Buffalo took the field against the New England Patriots on Sunday, starting quarterback Josh Allen pointed to the No. 3 patch on his jersey and told his teammates, “They always say don’t play for the name on the back, play for the name on the front. It’s pretty special we play for the number on the front too.” Accompanied by thunderous applause from the team’s fanbase, Bills Mafia, Allen led the team on the field while carrying a flag with the No. 3 on it.
From his hospital bed, Damar let his teammates know he was thinking of them, tweeting, “GameDay.. Nothing I Want More Than To Be Running Out That Tunnel With My Brothers. God Using Me In A Different Way Today. Tell Someone You Love Them Today!”
They did not let him down, as Buffalo started the game by returning the opening kickoff for a touchdown—something the team hasn’t done in three years and three months. Carried by unimaginable emotion, the Bills went on to defeat the Patriots 35-23 and are now set to face the Miami Dolphins in the wild card round of the playoffs on Sunday, Jan. 15.
One of the other more emotional moments of the day came when Indianapolis Colts safety Rodney Thomas, who was a teammate with Hamlin in high school, intercepted Houston Texans quarterback Davis Mills, then ran over to the 30-yard line and placed the ball on the three. Following Hamlin’s collapse, Thomas drove from Indianapolis to Cincinnati to be at his friend’s bedside. In reaction to his high school friend’s tribute, Damar tweeted several heart hand emojis with the caption “Rod Dawg!”
Throughout Sunday’s games, Hamlin posted about the tributes on social media, thanked everyone for their support and announced that he’s selling a shirt featuring his now signature heart hands emoji with the question “Did we win?,” which was the first thing he asked when he woke up in the hospital. He tweeted that the proceeds from the shirt will go to first responders and the University of Cincinnati Medical Center trauma center.