As the sports world prays for the recovery of the Buffalo Bills‘ Damar Hamlin, who remained in critical condition a day after collapsing on the field in Cincinnati, his family issued a statement January 3 on the Instagram page of Hamlin’s 7-year-old brother, Damir.
The statement thanked everyone for their “love and support” and made a special shout-out to Hamlin’s doctors. “We also want to acknowledge the dedicated first responders and healthcare professionals at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center who have provided exceptional care to Damar. We feel so blessed to be a part of the Buffalo Bills organization and to have their support. We also want to thank Coach Taylor and the Bengals for everything they’ve done.”
Hamlin’s uncle, Dorrian Glenn said he was watching the game with Damir in Pittsburgh when Hamlin went down. “That was a scary thing to witness,” Glenn said, per New York Upstate. “His brother was the first one that started crying, his little brother. And I went from us to consoling him to us consoling each other in the living room when we seen how serious it was. So for (Damar) to still be here and still be fighting…really, truly grateful for that.”
Damir, who will turn 8 years old in February, is not only his big brother’s biggest fan but he’s also looking to follow in his NFL footsteps. In July, Damir shared on Instagram a photo of himself holding a football with the caption “My time coming I just gotta be ready! 🤟🏾🤟🏾🤟🏾.”
According to The Buffalo News, Damir is coached by their father, Mario, in youth football.
Damir regularly attends Bills games and shares hype videos dedicated to his big bro. In 2022, Damir shared a photo with Hamlin, thanking him for his guidance on and off the field. He captioned the post, “Tough Lost today but I heard you bro I’m a remember this feeling and work hard this off season because next year it’s UP 💪🏾💪🏾🦾.”
Damar Hamlin’s Little Brother Is the Main Reason He Stayed Close to Home for College
Hamlin, 24, said he is close with his family and said his younger brother played a huge part in his choosing to go to college near home in western Pennsylvania. While the top-rated recruit out of Pittsburgh Catholic Central received offers from prestigious football schools such as Ohio State, Penn State, Notre Dame, Clemson and UCLA, Hamlin chose Pittsburgh to help inspire Damir, who was a 2-year-old at the time.
“I wanted to give him that image growing up,” Hamlin told Go Long’s Ty Dunne, according to a tweet from CBS Sports’ Aditi Kinkhabwala. “Me growing up that he can look back on and be able to model himself after. That’s something I never had. I had a bunch of examples of what not to do… Me, growing up, I always questioned if I was doing the right things. Just because I didn’t have anybody I could look up to… That’s why I stayed home at Pitt. I chose Pitt over everybody. Just for that one reason — for my brother.”
During a sit-down interview earlier this season, the Bills’ 2021 sixth-round pick said his family is the most important facet of his life. “I’m big on my family unit,” Hamlin said. “My mom, my dad, my little brother — that’s pretty much my whole world. … My life revolves around them.”
“I don’t really do too much without my mom and dad’s opinion — whether I take it, or whether I don’t, you know, but sometimes I just want to hear it. It’s just how I was raised.”
On the morning after Hamlin’s collapse, his family’s spokesperson, Jordon Rooney, provided an update on Hamlin, per CBS Sports. “I can’t speak specifically on his medical condition. All I’ll say is, he’s fighting. He’s a fighter. … The family’s in good spirits. We’re honestly just taking it minute-by-minute, hour-by-hour. … What’s most important is to give the family their privacy. … His family is going through a lot right now.”
Damar Hamlin’s Parents Inspired His Desire to Start Toy Drive
While speaking at the Point Park Globe in 2022, Hamlin discussed his “Chasing M’s” clothing brand, the name stems from a slogan he loved, “chasing millions,” through which he started his foundation in 2020. He said his desire to give back to the community was inspired by his parents, Mario and Nina.
“My father showed me sacrifice,” Hamlin said. “He sacrificed a lot for me just to put me in a great position to be able to be successful,” Damar said. “My mother held everything down. She taught me hard work and dedication.”
For 2022, Hamlin’s goal was to raise $2,500 for his Chasing M’s toy drive, but donations have skyrocketed following the on-field incident as people find a way to show their support for Hamlin and his family.
As of 3 p.m. Eastern time on Tuesday, January 3, Hamlin’s GoFundMe account for the toy drive had surpassed $4.5 million, with large deposits continuing to pour in.
“If you would like to show your support and contribute to Damar’s community initiatives and his current fight, this is the place to do so. This is the only current fund that is being used by the Hamlin Family,” the page reads.
Several professional athletes have made large donations. Wrestler Chris Jericho donated $10,000 while former Bengals QB Andy Dalton gave $3,000. Patriots QB Brian Hoyer and DE Lawrence Guy made donations, as did San Francisco 49ers QB Trey Lance, RB Christian McCaffrey and TE George Kittle, among many others.
Hamlin suffered the medical emergency during the Bills’ Monday Night Football matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals. Hamlin was in critical condition as of late afternoon on January 3. After colliding with Bengals receiver Tee Higgins with 5:58 left in the first quarter, Hamlin stood up but collapsed to the ground after taking a few steps.
The Bills provided their first official update on Hamlin’s status at 1:48 a.m. Eastern time on January 3. “Damar Hamlin suffered a cardiac arrest following a hit in our game versus the Bengals. His heartbeat was restored on the field and he was transferred to the UC Medical Center for further testing and treatment. He is currently sedated and listed in critical condition.”