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"This is just the beginning of the impact I want to have": Damar Hamlin speaks for the first time in public after suffering a strike


The Buffalo Bills safety, who shocked the world by collapsing on the field on Jan. 2, acknowledged that he needed time to process "mentally, physically and even spiritually" what happened to him.

By Dennis Romero and Alex Lo -

NBC News

Buffalo Bills player Damar Hamlin spoke for the first time since he went into cardiac arrest on January 2 during a game that millions of people were watching live.

Thousands of fans were shocked to see him collapse on the field of play after suffering an impact during a play against the Cincinnati Bengals.

The health personnel jumped at full speed on the grass and began to practice cardiopulmonary resuscitation maneuvers, to the surprise and despair of his teammates.

"It was important for me to wait and speak publicly at the right time, since I had a lot to process within myself, mentally, physically and even spiritually," the 24-year-old safety explained on his Instagram social network account.

“I feel like what happened to me at Monday Night Football is a direct example of God using me to share my passion and love straight from my heart with the world,” Hamlin said.

“And now I can give it back to charities and communities around the world who need it the most, and that has always been my dream,” he said.

["Did we win?": Damar Hamlin's question after waking up in the hospital where he has been in serious cardiac arrest]

Experts believe Hamlin may have suffered a rare phenomenon called commotio cordis, which is when the heart is vulnerable for less than a fifth of a second to blunt force that can disrupt its normal rhythm and lead to death in some cases.

However, Hamlin's recovery offset this dire prognosis.

He immediately began eating and walking around the hospital room, and managed to be released a few days after collapsing on the field, much to the satisfaction of the medical team and Bills fans.

"I am grateful to everyone," the player continued.

"I know it's not enough to be grateful. This is just the beginning of the impact I want to have in the world. With God's guidance, I will continue to do wonderful and great things," he promised.

A fundraising account Hamlin had created in 2020 to support a toy drive in his hometown of McKees Rocks, Pennsylvania, was flooded after he was hospitalized.

On Saturday night, more than 247,000 donations totaled $9,018,830.

“I don't even have words to express how grateful I am for the amount of support something that we started even long before I came to the NFL has received,” Hamlin said.

The safety seemed to have his greatest gratitude towards the children: “to all the children who sent me heartwarming letters and gifts,” Hamlin said.

"You mean everything to me," he continued.

“You make my day every day.

You have inspired me to keep dreaming big, ”she acknowledged.

Is it a double?

Hamlin's rapid recovery has fueled the conspiracy theory of anti-vaccine activists, who claim that the safety suffered cardiac arrest due to a vaccine against COVID-19 and that in reality the person who has left the hospital and is addressing his followers in social networks is a double.

While far-fetched, the theory has gained enough traction to elicit a response from Bills quarterback Josh Allen.

"It's stupid," he said on a podcast. 

What happened to Damar Hamlin?

A doctor explains what could have caused the cardiac arrest

Jan 4, 202305:46

This unsubstantiated theory underscores the lengths to which anti-vaxxers can go to promote the false narrative that COVID-19 vaccines cause widespread injuries and deaths, and highlights a public that is increasingly susceptible to misinformation.

Twenty days after his cardiac arrest, Hamlin attended a playoff game against the Bengals last week.

His presence at the stadium was scrutinized online and a group of skeptics concluded that the person wearing dark glasses and his face covered was not him.

After the game, social media was inundated with messages suggesting that Hamlin had died and that his apparition was not real, according to Zignal Labs, a company that analyzes conversations on social media, traditional media and online conversations.

Hashtags like #WhereIsDamarHamlin were trending on Twitter. 

Source: telemundo

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