Damar Hamlin Story

By Anaya Raikar and Abby Whelan

Damar Hamlin is currently a 24-year-old safety for the Buffalo Bills. Originally from McKees Rock, Pennsylvania, Hamlin played for the University of Pittsburgh until he was selected for the Buffalo Bills in the 2021 National Football League (NFL) Draft. He spent most of his rookie season as a backup player, eventually becoming part of the starting lineup in 2022.

The Buffalo Bills played the Cincinnati Bengals on January 2 in the NFL playoffs. During the first quarter of the game, Hamlin tackled Tee Higgins, the Bengal’s wide receiver. Following the collision, he briefly stumbled before falling to the ground. Hamlin received immediate medical attention; both CPR and automated external defibrillation (AED) were performed on him. After long discussions between officials and both teams, the NFL ultimately decided to cancel the Bills vs. Bengals game. Hamlin then was sent to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, where he received critical medical care. Hamlin spent a week recovering at the Cincinnati hospital, later being transferred to the Buffalo General Medical Center after doctors confirmed he did not require intensive care. 

Many fans closely watched the game, including P.E. teacher Coach Greg, who commented that she “was very concerned when [she] saw the hit and then things happened so quickly from there. It was great that the professionals were so quick to react and save his life! Like everyone else, [she] followed the story every day to see his progress!” Ms. Greg added that “the NFL handled the situation the best way they could. Shut the game down and worry about their teammate.”

Hamlin was able to watch the Patriots vs. Bills game on January 8 in which the Bills prevailed 35-23. This game was highly anticipated for both teams as it determined the Patriots’ fate in the playoffs, and it was the first game since Hamlin’s injury for the Bills. In the first play of the game, Bills running back Nyheim Hines ran the kickoff return 96 yards to score a touchdown. The Patriots continued the game with a dominating offense, but it was not enough against the powerful Bills and their roaring Buffalo fans in Highmark Stadium. Passionate Patriots fan Cate Ewald ’25 commented, “I think the first play of the game was obviously disappointing for us Patriots fans, but it was still nice and exciting to see for Damar.”

Hamlin was able to visit the rest of his team, giving them encouragement for the highly anticipated Bills vs. Miami Dolphins game. Yet again, the Bills were able to edge it out with a score of 34-31. The Buffalo Bills have never won the Superbowl, and they, unfortunately, failed again this year after an unfortunate loss in the American Football Conference Championship against the Kansas City Chiefs. Although they fell short this year, an inspiring video message from Damar Hamlin, showing the team’s strength and endurance, was posted on the Buffalo Bill’s social media. 

Although Hamlin’s accident was scary, we appreciate how the NFL handled the situation, and we enjoyed watching the Bills persevere to play against our New England Patriots. We hope to see more of the Buffalo Bills and Hamlin in the upcoming NFL seasons!