Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin was part of a scary situation Monday night when he went into cardiac arrest after hitting Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins.
The Bills said Hamlin needed to get his heartbeat back on the field after collapsing. He was rushed to a Cincinnati hospital where he remained in critical condition.
But while fans waited to learn more about the 24-year-old safety, more information about Hamlin’s background came to light. As fans offered their thoughts and prayers, many began donating to a charity started during his senior season at the University of Pittsburgh.
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Hamlin is from McKees Rocks, Pennsylvania, and attended Pittsburgh Central Catholic Church. He attended the same high school as Miami Dolphins legend Dan Marino and two-time Super Bowl champion Stefen Wisniewski.
He played college football alongside current Bills teammate Dane Jackson, and the two have become good friends ever since. He earned ACC co-Defensive Player of the Week honors in November 2020 after recording 11 tackles against Virginia Tech. He would later be named to the ACC Second Team.
He would go on to earn his bachelor’s degree in communication from Pittsburgh.
Hamlin turned professional after the 2020 season. The Bills selected him in the sixth round. He started on the special teams for the Bills in his rookie season and played 125 snaps for the team. He would not earn playing time with Buffalo until this season after multiple injuries in the secondary.
DAMAR HAMLIN SUFFERED FROM CARDIAC ARREST DURING MATCH, HEARTBEAT WAS RESTORED ON FIELD, BILLS SAY
He started 13 of the 15 games he appeared in before Monday’s game against the Bengals. He recorded 91 total tackles, six tackles for loss, three QB hits and 1.5 sacks in that span.
In particular, Hamlin wanted to have a positive impact on the world. He created the Chasing M’s Foundation and launched a Christmas toy drive for his hometown in 2020, just before he became a member of the Bills.
“The idea popped into my head right after Clemson week,” he told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette at the time. “It sparked a thought in my head. But I couldn’t really do anything until after my eligibility was complete as far as GoFundMe and all that stuff. So it’s been a solid week and a half of preparing for the toy drive.
“All of this was able to happen in that short period of time. That just goes to show how supportive the town, the city, all the fans of Pitt and the University of Pittsburgh, everyone who grew up watching me and knew my story personally and have been a part of. From that, that’s just a testament to how much they support me.”
NFL fans came together Monday night to raise millions of dollars for your charity.
Hamlin is the son of Mario and Nina Hamlin and has a brother. Video also circulated earlier this season of Hamlin hugging his mother before a game. She reportedly attended Paycor Stadium and accompanied him to the hospital.
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Bills players sent in their thoughts and prayers on social media.