ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin is cleared to resume playing and is attending the team’s voluntary workout program, the latest and biggest steps in his remarkable recovery some four months after going into cardiac arrest and having to be resuscitated on the field during a game at Cincinnati.
“He’s fully cleared. He’s here and he is of the mindset. He’s in a great headspace to come back and make his return,” general manager Brandon Beane said Tuesday.
Beane said the clearance came after Hamlin met with a third and final specialist on Friday, with all three being in agreement that Hamlin can resume playing without any fear of setbacks or complications. While the Bills had their head athletic trainer sit in on Hamlin’s meetings with specialists, Beane said the team is following the lead of the specialists.
“He’s such a great kid and has such a great family, and it’s exciting to go from a guy who was fighting for his life to now,” Beane said. “His story hasn’t been written. Now it’s about his comeback.”
Hamlin’s recovery is personal to many who watched in shock as Hamlin collapsed on the field on a nationally televised “Monday Night Football” game, but moreso for Beane. While the Bills returned home after the game initially was suspended and eventually canceled, Beane spent the first four days at Hamlin’s side, including when he was awakened from a medically induced coma at the University Cincinnati Medical Center.
“It was all about his health, and it’s always going to be about his health,” Beane said. “But to truly, you know, however many months later be talking about he’s fully cleared is pretty remarkable. And I’m excited for him and his family where for where they are on his journey.”
Hamlin collapsed after making what appeared to be a routine tackle in the first quarter of a Jan. 2 game against the Bengals. His collapse led to an outporing of support from around the NFL and across North America, with donations made to Hamlin’s charitable organization topping more than $9 million.
The second-year player from Pittsburgh’s exurb of McKee’s Rock spent nearly 10 days recovering in hospitals in Cincinnati and Buffalo before being released. He eventually began visiting the Bills’ facility and attended the team’s season-ending 27-10 loss to Cincinnati in the divisional round of the playoffs.
Hamlin has since made numerous appearances around the country, including meeting with President Joe Biden last month. During the Super Bowl festivities in Arizona in February, he received the NFLPA’s Alan Page Community Award. He also took part in a pregame ceremony in which the NFL honored the Bills’ and Bengals’ training and medical staffs and first responders who treated the 24-year-old.