Reporter of the AFC Est
Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin is in critical condition at a Cincinnati hospital after suffering cardiac arrest during his team’s game against the Bengals on Monday night.
On-site medical personnel immediately treated Hamlin, who required CPR on the field. His heartbeat was restored. An ambulance then transported Hamlin to UC Medical Center, where he was sedated for further testing and continued treatment.
After the incident, Bills and Bengals players left the field, many of them overcome with emotion. The NFL postponed the game until later Monday evening and the Bills returned to Buffalo, arriving Tuesday morning.
Here’s some background on Hamlin, a 24-year-old in his second season with Buffalo.
Where did you grow up?
Hamlin grew up in McKees Rocks, Pa., a town that’s a 15-minute drive from downtown Pittsburgh. He attended Central Catholic High School in Pittsburgh.
Hamlin recently spoke about the importance of his family, including his younger brother, Damir, and parents, Mario and Nina.
“I’m very important to my family unit. My mom, my dad, my little brother, that’s pretty much my whole world… Everything else that happens in my life revolves around them.” Hamlin told Bills team reporter Maddy Glab in December. “I don’t really do too much without my mom and dad’s opinion, whether I take it or not. But I just want to hear it. That’s how I was raised.”
Hamlin and his family faced a great deal of adversity at McKees Rocks. For more on his story, read this from the Democrat and Chronicle.
How can you show support to his family?
Hamlin has a charity and, following his collapse on the field, his family and representatives have encouraged people to contribute to your community toy drivewhich has raised over $4 million at press time.
“This campaign offers you the opportunity to contribute to our first initiative and make a positive impact on the children who have been most affected by the pandemic. 100% of the funds raised will go towards the purchase of toys for children in need” , says a statement. the Go Fund Me page.
where did you go to college
Hamlin attended the University of Pittsburgh, where she majored in communications and minored in sociology.
Hamlin enrolled at Pitt in 2016 and played in 13 games over his first two seasons with the Panthers. Injuries kept him off the field. During his first year, he underwent three different surgeries.
In 2018, his breakout season, he started all 14 games at safety. He recorded a team-high 90 tackles and tied the team in interceptions with two. He remained a key player on defense through 2020, when he again recorded the team’s most tackles (67) and added two more interceptions with seven pass breakups.
He was a second-team All-ACC player as a senior, was voted team captain and was chosen to play in the Senior Bowl.
He drew interest from the Bills during the pre-draft process despite the team already having Pro Bowl safeties in Micah Hyde and Jordan Poyer.
“Me and my family, we all saw it as the perfect opportunity [land with the Bills]” Hamlin said. “Being able to come in and learn, because some rookies have the pressure of having to go out right away, and they can burn their fuse because maybe they’re not ready for their moment, so it’s like … to be able to having the opportunity to sit behind two All-Pro safeties, learn the system, see what they do well and see why they do it well, I saw that as something that could push me even further than where I could to have seen me go.”
How has your journey to the NFL been?
Buffalo drafted Hamlin in the sixth round in 2021. And while the late-round pick isn’t certain to be on the roster, he spent his rookie season working on special teams and occasionally getting on the field for the defense
This season, Hyde suffered a neck injury in Week 2, which elevated Hamlin to the starter. He has played 86% of the team’s defensive snaps and has 91 tackles, second most on the team, and 1.5 sacks, two pass breakups and a forced fumble.
Hamlin has been a natural fit in the Bills’ top unit.
“My main approach in a game is to trust my instincts,” Hamlin said in December. “I watch film all week. I have my reps practice all week. I’ve seen it. I know what’s coming. And that’s my style of play. I like to play chess. I use my instincts to make plays and be there. the right place, so that’s my focus. I’m using my instincts to try to play free.”
She loves fashion and started her own clothing brand
During his freshman year at Pitt, Hamlin was discouraged by injuries and surgeries and felt he might not have a future in football.
Thus, he began to pursue other passions, including fashion. That’s when he started his own clothing brand: Chasin M.
“Things turned around, and I kept it down to the clothes, so it’s something that just takes me away from the game,” Hamlin said. “You know how the game gives you that happy place on the field? [My clothing brand] it’s another thing that just allows me to detox from football, but also brings me to that happy place where I’m still focused and still locked in.”
Prior to joining FOX Sports as an AFC East reporter, Henry McKenna spent seven years covering the Patriots for USA TODAY Sports Media Group and Boston Globe Media. Follow him on Twitter at @McKennAnalysis.
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