The astonishing recovery of Damar Hamlin has a ways to go.
There was optimism that Hamlin might attend a Bills playoff game, and according to head coach Sean McDermott, he has been at the team facilities practically daily. Jordon Rooney, a friend of Hamlin’s and a marketing representative, provided a sobering reminder of what lies ahead for the 24-year-old safety.
Three weeks after going into cardiac arrest and requiring resuscitation on the field at a race in Cincinnati, Hamlin still faces a lengthy rehabilitation, his marketing agent told The Associated Press on Thursday night.
Jordon Rooney stated, “Damar still requires oxygen and his heart is regularly monitored to ensure there are no setbacks or lasting effects.” Damar is able to visit the team’s facility, but he is unable to travel frequently and requires more rest to let his body recover.
Rooney supplied the report to underscore that Hamlin still faces obstacles following his January 11 discharge from Buffalo General Medical Center. Hamlin was released five days after his physicians reported that he was breathing on his own, walking and speaking normally, and displaying no neurological impairment.
Rooney’s revelation provided context for Bills coach McDermott’s Wednesday statement that Hamlin has began making frequent visits to the team’s facilities. McDermott, though, emphasized that Hamlin was taking “baby steps” while adding that Hamlin is “dipping his toe back in here and getting back to being himself.”
Hamlin has not yet made a public appearance, with the exception of a photograph linebacker Matt Milano uploaded to Instagram of his teammate on Saturday at the Bills facility. In addition, he has not yet spoken publicly outside of social media postings.
Rooney stated that Hamlin is being cared after by his parents and that he “remains very upbeat and appreciative of the support he has received from his teammates and coaches, Bills Mafia, and people around the world.” Hamlin’s philanthropic foundation, Chasing M’s, has raised approximately $9 million in donations due to this outpouring of support.
Jordon Rooney in an interview with “Good Morning America” Good Morning America/YouTube
Hamlin will cheer for the Bills on Sunday, when Buffalo meets Cincinnati in an AFC divisional game, without specifying from where.
On January 8, Hamlin tweeted live while watching Buffalo’s 35-23 victory over New England from his hospital bed at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center. Last weekend, he tweeted live while watching the Bills’ wild-card playoff victory over Miami, 34-31.
The contest against Cincinnati has added significance. It is the first meeting between the two teams since their game on January 2 was canceled after Hamlin fainted after being struck in the chest while making what seemed to be a normal tackle on Bengals receiver Tee Higgins.
Hamlin’s family and Bills quarterback Josh Allen have endorsed Higgins’ assertion that he should not be held responsible for what occurred.
Higgins stated on Thursday that he could not be more appreciative of his family’s support and that he hoped Hamlin would attend the game so they could meet.
“Just be glad to see him,” answered Higgins. “I have not truly conversed with him. Simply allowing his family to do what he must with all of his loved ones.”
In a phone contact with Hamlin on Thursday, New York Governor Kathy Hochul expressed her support for the player. Hochul reacted to Hamlin as “an inspiration” in a tweet and informed him that “the hopes and prayers of 20 million New Yorkers have been with him throughout his recovery.”
Hamlin, who is from the Pittsburgh region, responded that it was a pleasure to meet Hochul and that he was “excited to see how our future collaborations will help and affect so many.”