One year since Damar Hamlin’s injury

BUFFALO, N.Y. — It’s been one year since Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin collapsed after suffering from cardiac arrest during a game.

Western New York and the world went from praying for his recovery to celebrating his return to the field. Fans went from watching him getting revived on the field by heroic medical staff to being inspired to learn CPR themselves.

Hamlin went into cardiac arrest after making a tackle during the first quarter of a Monday Night Football game hosted by the Cincinnati Bengals on Jan. 2. Medical staff rushed from the sidelines onto the field and performed CPR for several minutes. An ambulance took Hamlin to a University of Cincinnati Medical Center as players from both teams, spectators, and staff became emotional. The game was suspended and then canceled.

Days after the collapsed, Hamlin woke up and his condition began improving. Medical staff at UCMC said that, after waking up, Hamlin wrote on a piece of paper “who won the game?” In a press conference, the hospital’s general surgery division chief responded. “Yes, Damar did win. He won the game of life.”

The next day, on a video call with Bills players and staff, Hamlin spoke with his teammates, saying “I love you, boys.” He also flexed his muscles and made his iconic heart sign with his hands.