Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin is speaking publicly for the first time since his January 2 collapse, sending an emotional message to fans around the world who have supported him.
Hamlin posted a video on Twitter on January 28 that caught some viral attention. In the 21-second clip, Hamlin thanked fans and promised to “do wonderful and great things” in his life.
In the wake of his collapse in the Week 17 game against the Cincinnati Bengals, supporters came together to raise more than $9 million for a GoFundMe campaign that Hamlin had originally started as a toy drive but has since been repurposed to support his charity.
Damar Hamlin Shares Love With Fans
In the video shared on Saturday night, Hamlin shared gratitude for everyone who had supported him through his ordeal, which included a nine-day hospitalization after he suffered cardiac arrest on the field.
“While I’m so thankful to everybody, I know that it isn’t enough just to be thankful,” Hamlin said. “This is just the beginning of the impact that I want to have on the world, and with God’s guidance I will continue to do wonderful and great things. I couldn’t do this without any of the support and the love, and I can’t wait to continue to take y’all on this journey with me.”
The Bills shared a longer video on their Twitter page, showing Hamlin walking and sitting down. Hamlin explained that he wanted to wait before speaking publicly as “it was a lot to process” while he was recovering.
Hamlin said it was always his dream to be able to help kids and give back, which he will do through his charity. He also personally thanked the doctors and team staff who treated him both on the field and in the days that followed.
After his collapse and subsequent hospitalization, Hamlin made what the Bills called a “remarkable” recovery. After being released from the hospital, he was able to return to the team facility and made an appearance at the team’s divisional-round playoff game against the Bengals.
Damar Hamlin’s Appearance Shuts Down Conspiracy Theories
While Hamlin’s recovery became a feel-good story for the Bills and the NFL, some also took to the internet to share unfounded conspiracy theories that his collapse was related to the COVID-19 vaccine or that Hamlin was replaced by a body double at the appearance at Highmark Stadium last week.
Before his public remarks on Saturday, Hamlin appeared to poke fun at conspiracy theorists in an Instagram post where he posed in front of a mural showing him in full Bills uniform.
“Clone,” Hamlin wrote in the picture’s caption.
Bills quarterback Josh Allen also shot down the rumors, saying in an appearance on Kyle Brandt’s Basement podcast that it was definitely Hamlin who visited the team last week.
“[So] there is absolutely zero chance. Absolutely zero chance,” Allen said. “That’s the Damar Hamlin, that’s our guy, that’s our brother. He was with us pre-game, post-game, he was up in the suite with his family, his little brother. 100-percent.”
Allen also had a blunt message for those spreading the conspiracy theories.
“People need to stop that s**t,” he said.