Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin is giving his first interview since his shocking sudden cardiac arrest on the field in January. In a teaser for an upcoming interview with former NFL pro and Good Morning America co-anchor Michael Strahan, the 24-year-old football player speaks about assistant athletic trainer Denny Kellington, who administered CPR on him that day on the field.
“I owe Denny my life, literally,” Hamlin says. “He loves to say he was just doing his job, which is true. That night he was literally the savior of my life, administering CPR on me.”
Hamlin says he’s “truly thankful” for Kellington’s live-saving work, adding, “I don’t take [it] for granted.”
The full interview with Strahan airs Monday, Feb. 13 on Good Morning America.
Hamlin was at the NFL Honors on Thursday, where he received a standing ovation after being introduced by Abbott Elementary star Sheryl Lee Ralph. Ralph declared she was “so proud, happy and pleased” to welcome the young athlete to the stage, “alive and living.”
Hamlin addressed the cheering crowd at the event, saying, “First, I would like to just thank God for even being here. Every day I’m amazed that my experiences could encourage so many others across the country and even across the world — encourage to pray, encourage to spread love, and encourage to keep fighting no matter the circumstances.”
Hamlin noted that sudden cardiac arrest was not something he ever envisioned as being a part of his story.
“My vision was about playing in the NFL and being the best player I could be,” he said. “But God’s plan was to have a purpose greater than any game in this world.”
Noting he has a “long journey ahead” filled with “unknowns and milestones,” Hamlin added, “It’s a lot easier to face your fears when you know your purpose.”
He thanked those around the world who prayed for him, declaring, “The journey will continue.”
Hamlin was hospitalized following a life-threatening tackle in a game against the Cincinnati Bengals in Ohio on Jan. 2.
During the first quarter of the pivotal NFL matchup, Hamlin tackled wide receiver Tee Higgins, and both men appeared to be uninjured following the tackle. However, shortly thereafter, Hamlin appeared to stumble and collapse on the field. He was swiftly attended to by medical personnel, who gave the athlete CPR on the field. He was also placed on a stretcher, given oxygen and taken to the hospital via ambulance. It was later revealed that Hamlin went into cardiac arrest.
Source: ET Online