On Sunday (Jan. 8), 24-year-old Buffalo Bills’ player Damar Hamlin, who suffered a cardiac arrest six days earlier during a game against the Cincinnati Bengals, tweeted, “GameDay.. Nothing I Want More Than To Be Running Out That Tunnel With My Brothers. God Using Me In A Different Way Today. Tell Someone You Love Them Today!”
Medical personnel were forced to administer CPR to Hamlin while he was still on the field, shocking teammates and opposing players as they dropped to their knees in prayer. After Hamlin spent three days at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center’s ICU, the Bills released an update on January 5 sharing that Hamlin had started communicating through writing, even asking doctors “who won the game Monday night.” Doctors responded, “Yes, Damar, you won. You won the game of life.”
Hamlin’s injury impacted players, sportscasters, and fans throughout the nation leading up to the NFL season’s final week of play. On Tuesday (Jan. 3), former NFL quarterback and current ESPN analyst Dan Orlovsky prayed for Hamlin on live television.
“Maybe this is not the right thing to do, but I want to,” Orlovsky during an episode of NFL Live. “I’ve heard the phrase ‘thoughts and prayers’ all day, and people asking others to pray for Hamlin. I’ve heard the Buffalo Bills organization say ‘we believe in prayer,’ and maybe this is not the right thing to do, but I want to—it’s just on my heart that I want to pray for Damar Hamlin right now.”
Orlovsky then led his cohosts in prayer for the young NFL player as millions of viewers watched.
That same night, former NFL tight end and Super Bowl champion Benjamin Watson shared the gospel during a guest appearance on CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360.
“These times bring us face to face with our own mortality, and we all have a day to be born and we all have a day to die,” Watson said in that interview.
Watson told Cooper that watching what happened to Hamlin should make someone ask, “Where are we? Where do our hearts stand?”
On Saturday, the Bills shared a comment from Hamlin wherein Hamlin recognized how God was using his situation to unite people, expressing gratitude for everyone who prayed for his recovery.
“The love has been overwhelming, but I’m thankful for every single person that prayed for me and reached out,” Hamlin said. “We brung the world back together behind this. If you know me you know this only gone make me stronger. On a long road keep praying for me!”