NFL: Damar Hamlin cleared to play again after cardiac arrest

The 25-year-old Buffalo Bills safety collapsed during a game in January and required CPR on the field.

Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin reacts after a play during the first half of the team's NFL football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Oct. 9, 2022
Hamlin reacts during a National Football League game against the Pittsburgh Steelers in the United States [File: Joshua Bessex/AP Photo]

Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin has been cleared to resume playing, three months after he suffered a cardiac arrest during a game last season and needed his heart restarted on the field, the NFL club said.

Hamlin collapsed during a game on January 2 against the Cincinnati Bengals moments after making a routine tackle and received life-saving CPR on the field as the frightening scene unfolded in front of a packed stadium and national US television audience.

The 25-year-old’s recovery captivated the sporting world with Hamlin receiving an outpouring of support from around the globe.

“He’s cleared to resume full activities just like anyone else coming back from an injury,” Bills general manager Brandon Beane said on Tuesday in a post on the club’s Twitter account.

“He’s fully cleared, he’s here and he is of the mindset, he’s in a great head space to come back and make his return.”

Beane said the clearance came after the player met with a third and final specialist on Friday.

Beane said three specialists were in agreement that Hamlin was fit to resume full activity. While the Bills had their own doctor sit in on Hamlin’s meetings with specialists, Beane said the team is following the lead of the specialists.

Such an outcome seemed impossible three months ago, when Hamlin was rushed to a Cincinnati hospital, sedated and placed on a ventilator in critical condition.

He remained in hospital for several days, with fans holding vigils while the National Football League (NFL) rallied around their fellow player and members of every team donned Hamlin-inspired apparel at games along with other expressions of love and support at stadiums.

The second-year player from Pittsburgh’s exurb of McKees Rocks spent nearly 10 days recovering in hospitals in Cincinnati and Buffalo before being released. He eventually began visiting the Bills’ facility and attended the team’s season-ending 27-10 loss to Cincinnati in the divisional round of the playoffs.

Hamlin has since made numerous appearances around the United States, including meeting with President Joe Biden last month.

During the Super Bowl festivities in Arizona in February, he received the NFL Players Association’s Alan Page Community Award. He also took part in a pregame ceremony in which the NFL honoured the Bills’ and Bengals’ training and medical staff and first responders who treated him.

Hamlin said he was committed to educating the public on the merits of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) training and life-saving techniques, partnering with the American Heart Association on a national programme to provide free tutorials and videos on emergency breathing and defibrillator use.

A sixth-round pick by Buffalo in 2021, Hamlin has recorded 93 tackles, 1.5 sacks and four passes defenced in 29 games (13 starts) with the Bills.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies