Sixteen days after dropping to the field with a cardiac arrest mid-game, Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin is reconnecting with the team by visiting its facility “almost daily,” according to Bills head coach Sean McDermott.
On Jan. 2, Hamlin toppled after a collision with Cincinnati Bengals tight end Tee Higgins. Although initial reports led to concerns for his life, Hamlin has steadily improved since his release from a hospital last week.
“Well, I think the guys are in a good spot,” McDermott said. “Damar’s in the building now, almost starting daily, and so that’s, that’s good news. And as he continues to improve, I think those are, you know, that certainly helps.”
“It’s limited, just overall,” McDermott said when asked what Hamlin did with the team. “But he comes in and really just started really today or yesterday and just trying to get back to a little bit of a routine and just get himself acclimated again and taking it one step, one baby step at a time here.”
Hamlin is “dipping his toe back in here and you know, getting on the road to just getting back to himself,” the coach said.
McDermott said the gut-wrenching emotions the team underwent have made them stronger.
“That experience, we’ll carry that with us. And there’s a challenge to that, but there’s also a lot of good that came from that. And I think right now we need to focus on the positive and the positives that came out of that as opposed to the other piece of it right now,” he said.
McDermott said it was not only the team that has found new strength.
“I think just as a world. I think the biggest thing I learned as a human was, like I’ve said before, when people can put aside their agendas for the common good of accomplishing one goal, we can be pretty good as a society in America and the world for that matter,” he said, according to USA Today.
“I’m 48 years old. I shared this story with my kids on the Sunday after the New England game, because that’s when I had a chance to slow down. When you can go through your life 48 years and not really have an experience like that — and then that happens — you know that God’s real, and that there’s power in prayer, and miracles do happen,” he said.
Hamlin, who did not attend Sunday’s Bills victory over Miami, first visited the team in person Saturday, according to ESPN.
“There’s a lot of reprieve from seeing him and carrying conversations, chewing the fat,” center Mitch Morse said. “He seems to be, I think, still physically very tired, but the guy’s in great spirits. And that also helps with the recovery process for all of us as well.”
Hamlin’s recovery has been equally cheered by the Bengals.
“To see Damar getting healthier as time passes and see where it ended up, there is always going to be a strong connection between these two organizations, and that’s a good thing,” Bengals coach Zac Taylor said, according to the Associated Press.
Players said that with the future on the line, once the whistle blows the focus will be on winning.
“It means there’s a ticket to the AFC championship on the line. That’s what this game means, and I don’t think there’s anything more that needs to be said about that. It was shocking circumstances that happened when they were here. I’m glad everything worked out great. … Now it’s a win or go home scenario,” he said.
Bills defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier said that the few minutes of the Jan. 2 game will not influence what happens Sunday.
“You have to be careful of over-thinking it, over-analyzing it, giving the players too much, and you end up not playing your best football,” he said.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.
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