Damar Hamlin Is 'Rooted' in Faith during Comeback: 'I'm on God’s Timing'

  • Michael Foust Crosswalk Headlines Contributor
  • Updated Aug 08, 2023
Damar Hamlin Is 'Rooted' in Faith during Comeback: 'I'm on God’s Timing'

Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin says he’s “rooted” in his faith in God as he enters his first NFL season following a cardiac arrest on national television that nearly ended his life.

Hamlin practiced in pads for the first time last week since that frightening incident, meaning he’s dishing out and taking hits. Hamlin, 25, fell backward on the field in January after taking a blow to the chest while making a tackle in a game. Medical personnel performed CPR to revive him, and the game was suspended.

A smiling Hamlin told media members during a news conference last week that it “feels amazing” to be in pads again.

“It's a roller coaster of emotions. I was kind of all over the place – just kind of being back for the first time. But God don't make no mistakes. I'm on God's timing,” Hamlin said. “As much as the NFL is on schedule when camp starts this day, this is all God's timing. So you'll hear me say that a lot up here. I'm trusting Him and that's my strength in all of this right now.”

Practicing in pads, he said, is a “super big hurdle” to his goal of playing again. He acknowledged that he nearly “lost my life playing this sport.”

“I'm rooted in my faith, I'm rooted in the love that I receive from my family, my teammates and the love all around the world,” Hamlin said. “... I've got goals that I still want to achieve within this game. And football teaches you so much about yourself. It teaches you so much about life, you learn so much about yourself through the game.”

Hamlin’s life was saved because medical personnel immediately performed CPR and used an AED (automated external defibrillator) on him. During the offseason, Hamlin traveled the country to urge people to become CPR certified. He also is encouraging the donations of AEDs to certain critical locations, such as schools and youth sports leagues.

“I made the choice to play, but I'm processing 1,000 emotions. I'm not afraid to say that it crosses my mind of being a little scared here and there,” he said. “But like I say, my strength is rooted in my faith, and my faith is stronger than any fear. ... That's what I want to preach up here. And that's the message I want to spread onto the world – that as long as your faith is stronger than your fears, you can get through anything. And so that's what I'm living by right now.”


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Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Timothy T. Ludwig/Stringer

Video courtesy: ©Buffalo Bills

Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.