Le cose continuano a migliorare per Damar Hamlin. Il 2 gennaio, il 24enne è andato in arresto cardiaco durante una partita della NFL tra Cincinnati Bengals e Buffalo Bills, secondo CBS Sports. Sebbene Hamlin, una sicurezza per i Buffalo Bills, abbia mostrato notevoli miglioramenti – ed è uscito dall’ospedale dall’11 gennaio – i primi giorni dopo la guarigione erano tutt’altro che certi. Secondo il LA Times, il personale medico in loco ha eseguito la RCP sul giocatore della NFL per nove minuti prima di intubarlo e fornirgli ossigeno, sforzi che altri funzionari medici hanno lodato come salvavita, secondo il New York Times.
On January 4, Hamlin was put on a ventilator, per a tweet by WROC-TV Sports Analyst Thad Brown, who'd spoken with Hamlin's uncle. For Hamlin's peers and fans awaiting health updates, time seemed to slow to a crawl. Fortunately, good news would eventually come by way of Hamlin's medical team. By January 7, Hamlin's doctors had not only removed him from the ventilator, but he was well enough to speak with his teammates, according to Inquirer. From there, Hamlin rapidly improved as he neared his release and has since made his first public appearance at the Bengals and Bills rematch on January 22. He's even found the time to troll those spreading conspiracy theories about his recovery.
Now, Hamlin has turned his attention to a greater cause: Using his triumphant recovery to educate and inspire his supporters.
Damar Hamlin teams up with the American Heart Association
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On January 31, Damar Hamlin took to his Instagram account to update fans on his new health initiative. Given the nature of his medical emergency, and CPR's role in saving his life, Hamlin has partnered with the American Heart Association for a new campaign. "What's up, everybody? It's D-Ham. Once again, I want to thank everybody for the love and support over these past few weeks," he said in a clip. "As you know, CPR saved my life earlier this year on the field. And CPR could easily save your life or someone you love. That's why I'm proud to announce that I'm partnering with the American Heart Association and kicking off Damar Hamlin's three for Heart CPR challenge." Hamlin then directed his 1.8 million followers to visit heart.org/3 to educate themselves on "hands-only CPR," donate to the AHA, and share the initiative with three of their friends. Hamlin also publicly challenged Lebron James, Tom Brady, and Michelle Obama "to kick things off."
As previously noted by the American Heart Association, CPR is a crucial life-saving tactic for people who've suffered from cardiac arrest. "90% of people who suffer cardiac arrests outside of a hospital die," shared the AHA. "CPR, especially if performed immediately, can double or triple a cardiac arrest victim's chance of survival. Yet, bystanders only perform CPR 46% of the time." Hopefully, Hamlin's partnership with the AHA will increase this percentage and help save more lives.
Damar Hamlin is appreciative for the support he's received
Damar Hamlin's journey to recovery has been nothing short of amazing. While Hamlin's football future is still up in the air, he's made great strides in a short amount of time. Not long after he collapsed, fans of both the Bengals and the Bills camped outside of the Cincinnati hospital where the NFL player was receiving care, engaging in prayer, as noted by Bleacher Report. On January 6, the NFL announced plans for his Bills teammates to honor the athlete by wearing patches of the number three. To top it off, Hamlin's Go Fund Me toy drive has since received over $9 million in donations. And Hamlin doesn't take it for granted.
Before announcing his new AHA partnership, Hamlin returned to Instagram to speak to his fans. "Now that my brothers have closed out a strong winning season, as I continue to make so much progress recovering, I think it's finally a good time to share a few things," said Hamlin. "I think it was important for me to wait and speak publicly at the right time, as it was just a lot to process within my own self." He continued, "But I can't tell you how appreciative I am for all the love, all the support, and everything that's just been coming in my way." Hamlin also revealed that he believes what happened to him is God's way of using him as a vessel "to share his passion and love directly from my heart, directly to the world."