Damar Hamlin, a safety for the Buffalo Bills, discussed his diagnosis with the media on Tuesday, his official return to playing professional football.
In addition, the athlete finally disclosed the diagnosis that led to his hospitalization following a cardiac arrest earlier this year.
Hamlin, 25 years old, was injured during a “Monday Night Football” contest against the Cincinnati Bengals on January 2.
Hamlin fell down after what appeared to be a minor collision with Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins.
Hamlin spent the next week in a hospital in Cincinnati, where he was treated by first responders who took immediate life-saving measures.
The game was postponed without being rescheduled.
On Tuesday, the team announced that Hamlin had been cleared to resume playing football.
“He is fully cleared. He’s here, and he is of the mindset. He’s in a great headspace to come back and make his return,” Bills general manager Brandon Beane said, Yahoo Sports reported.
Hamlin spoke to the media for approximately 12 minutes on Tuesday afternoon, and after stating, “I’m blessed,” he promptly began discussing the injury that he had previously declined to discuss in public.
“The diagnosis of, pretty much, what happened to me was commotio cordis,” Hamlin said roughly 90 seconds into the media conference.
“It’s a direct blow at a specific point in your heartbeat that causes cardiac arrest,” he said. “Five to seven seconds later, you fall out, and that’s pretty much what everybody’s seen Jan. 2 of this year.”
Hamlin, who is extensively involved in charitable activities for youth, stated that the disease is “the leading cause of death in youth athletes across all sports.”
“So, that’s something that I personally will be taking a step in to make a change,” he said.
He discussed his anxiety management strategies. “I died on national television in front of the whole world,” he said, extolling his comrades’ support throughout his recovery.
Following the update, Hamlin stated that he is eager to return to the field and resume his prospective NFL career.
He also stated that he will be guided by faith and not fear in all future endeavors.
“I’m trusting God,” Hamlin said. “I’m walking by faith.”
In February, the presenter of ABC’s “Good Morning America” asked Michael Strahan what caused his collapse during an interview.
“Umm … That’s something I want to stay away from,” Hamlin said at the time.
The American Heart Association issued a fact document about commotio cordis shortly after Tuesday’s media appearance by Hamlin.
“Commotio cordis (pronounced ke-MO-she-o-KORD-is) comes from the Latin for ‘agitation of the heart,’” the association explained. “It was first described in the 1700s, but most of what is known about it has been learned since the 1990s.”
The association added, “Put simply, it’s a rare cardiac arrest immediately following a blow to the chest. The impact induces a potentially lethal heart rhythm disturbance, or arrhythmia, called ventricular fibrillation.”