Damar Hamlin’s campaign to promote cardiac health has brought him all the way to the White House.
The Buffalo Bills safety met with President Joe Biden on March 30, part of his campaign to expand access to the kind of life-saving technology that was used after his January 2 collapse on the field against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Hamlin has recovered since suffering cardiac arrest on the field after taking a hard hit from Bengals receiver Tee Higgins, and has taken part in a number of efforts to expand access to the technology that helped save his life.
Damar Hamlin, Joe Biden Meet at White House
As Pro Football Talk’s Charean Williams noted, Hamlin had already met with lawmakers earlier in the week to advocate for the Access to AEDs Act. The bill would fund the purchase of AEDs and promote CPR training and cardiac emergency response plans in schools, and has garnered bipartisan support.
On Thursday, Hamlin paid a visit to the White House and spoke with President Biden to further promote the effort. The visit came as something of a surprise, as Hamlin had not shared beforehand that he would be meeting the president. The White House released a statement that praised Hamlin for his efforts to make a difference.
“Damar Hamlin’s courage, resilience and spirit inspired the American people,” the statement read. “And what’s more: he turned recovery into action – and our country is better for it. It was my honor to have him and his family here today.”
Hamlin spoke out after the meeting, thanking President Biden for his time and attention to the cause.
“It was a pleasure & an honor meeting you today. I know your time is precious and I wouldn’t waste a second of it! Our conversations were valuable,” Hamlin tweeted.
Hamlin has also pushed the cause through the NFL, teaming up with the American Heart Association on a campaign to promote CPR education and calling on athletes like Tom Brady to help promote it. The league brought the campaign to Phoenix for Super Bowl week, and before the game honored Hamlin and the medical professionals who treated him after his collapse.
Damar Hamlin’s Football Future
While he has been using time and energy to promote education around cardiac arrest treatment, Hamlin has also been working to prepare for a potential return to football. Bills head coach Sean McDermott told reporter Judy Battista earlier this week that he hopes Hamlin is able to play again next season, though the exact timeline for a return remains unknown.
McDermott praised Hamlin for his courage and said the team would be ready to offer any support he needed.
“The amount of courage it’s going to take to re-engage again is unbeknownst to many of us,” McDermott said. “I’m ready to support him in any direction he decides to go, even if it’s last minute.”
“The best thing we can do is support him all the way through this, and that is a big piece of it that is, mind, body and spirit,” McDermott added. “It’s just not physically like, hey, in the weight room, it’s the mental piece as well.”