Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin in a recent interview said he would not disclose the reason why he suffered cardiac arrest during a nationally broadcast game last month.
In his first interview since the incident, Hamlin discussed his collapse during a Jan. 2 “Monday Night Football” game against the Cincinnati Bengals. Hamlin spent more than a week in the hospital.
“You’re 24. Peak physical condition [that] could run circles around me right now. How did the doctors describe what happened to you?” ABC News’ “Good Morning America” host Michael Strahan, himself a former NFL player, asked Hamlin during an interview published this week.
Hamlin stated that he would not comment on what doctors told him. “That’s something I want to stay away from,” Hamlin said in response, which was not included in an ABC News article about the interview.
Strahan then asked: “I know from my experience at NFL, they do more tests than anything. And in the course of you having your physical, did anybody ever come back with any, say, you had a heart issue or anything that was abnormal?”
“Honestly, no. I’ve always been a healthy, young, fit, energetic human being, let alone athlete. So it was something that [we’re] still processing, and I’m still talking through my doctors to see what everything was,” Hamlin said in response.
Hamlin has continued to recover since he was released from the hospital last month. His interview with Strahan is the first one since he suffered the medical emergency.
Also in the interview, Hamlin said that he remembers preparing for the “Monday Night Football” game against the Bengals in Cincinnati and was feeling fine.
“I remember the things that we were focused on going into the game,” Hamlin told Strahan. “Just trying to get a win.”
Hamlin suddenly collapsed after he tackled Bengals receiver Tee Higgins in the first quarter of the game. Medical personnel had to perform CPR on him, and it was later revealed that he suffered cardiac arrest.
Strahan asked Hamlin what he remembers before he collapsed during the game. He took a long pause before responding.
“That’s something I don’t really want to get too deep in the details of,” Hamlin stated. “That’s something I’m still trying to work through, you know, why that happened to me.”
He noted that Denny Kellington, the assistant athletic trainer for the Bills, was the one who performed CPR, or cardiopulmonary resuscitation, on him.
“I owe Denny my life,” Hamlin said in this week’s interview. “Literally. He loves to say he was just doing his job, which is true, you know? And that night, he was literally the savior of my life.” He added, “I’m truly thankful for and I don’t take for granted.”
In the days after his collapse and hospitalization, doctors gave several updates on his condition during several news conferences. However, they have not disclosed the cause of his cardiac arrest.
When asked, Hamlin said that he “eventually” wants to play professional football again.
“Eventually. That’s always the goal. Like I said, as a competitor, I’m trying to do things just to [keep] advancing my situation,” Hamlin said. “But I’m allowing that to be in God’s hands. I’m just thankful he gave me a second chance.”
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