The Buffalo Bills honored their player Damar Hamlin, who is recovering after suffering a life-threatening cardiac arrest last Monday, with special jerseys and numerous displays of affection in the stands at Highmark Stadium on Sunday.
The Bills took the field-wearing jerseys with the slogan ‘love for Damar’ and his number three jersey, something that other NFL teams also did before their respective games on Sunday.
“This week, the Western New York community, the NFL family and people around the world prayed for Damar Hamlin. His recovery has restored our spirits and we are grateful for the love and support for Damar’s family. Today we celebrate his recovery, our love for Damar and our appreciation,” said the Highmark Stadium PA system.
The message was greeted with a heartfelt ovation from the nearly 70,000 fans in attendance, many wearing Hamlin’s jersey and carrying special banners.
Hamlin himself, who is now breathing without mechanical assistance and can talk to family and friends, posted a photo on Twitter from his hospital room with the message ‘Game Time’. He can be seen forming a heart with his hands.
And the game couldn’t have started any better for the Bills, one of the heavy favorites to reach this year’s Super Bowl in Arizona, with a 96-yard touchdown run by Nyheim Hines after the Patriots opening kickoff.
It had been three years and three months since the Bills had scored such a TD.
Hamlin, 24, suffered a cardiac arrest last Monday during a game with the Cincinnati Bengals and needed CPR on the field.
The worst was feared for the player, who nevertheless made significant improvements in recent days despite being in critical condition for days.
Since his hospitalization, Hamlin has received countless expressions of support and prayers from coaches, players, and NFL fans.
Bills and Bengals fans have waited outside the University of Cincinnati hospital for positive news about the player’s health.
Damar Hamlin, who is a college soccer player with the Pittsburgh Panthers, came to the NFL selected by the Bills in the sixth round of the 2021 Draft.
This season, he has played in 15 games in which he has 91 tackles, 63 solo and 1.5 catches.