AceShowbiz - Damar Hamlin makes a strong NFL return. The Buffalo Bills star joined his team for the first preseason game on Saturday, August 12 against the Indianapolis Colts, marking his first competitive NFL game since suffering cardiac arrest on the field back in January.
The Bills fans warmly welcomed the 25-year-old football star as the game took place at Highmark Stadium. He entered the game at 11:38 of the first quarter on kickoff coverage following a Bills touchdown. He made three tackles, including a key stop on a fourth down during the game which ended with Bill's 23-19 victory against Colts in his team's home game.
Following the game, Hamlin showed excitement for returning to play after the health scare. "It was fun, it was super fun, it was a great experience, just another milestone and a step up to just getting back to myself as far as the football space," Hamlin said, per NFL.com. "Just chopping this tree down as much as I can, one step at a time."
"I made the choice that I wanted to play," the athlete continued. "It wasn't anybody else's choice but mine, so making that choice, I know what comes with it."
He added, "So when you see my cleats laced up and my helmet and shoulder pads on, I'm going to go with no hesitation. Because you can't play this game like that, you'll put yourself at more risk if you hesitate."
It was revealed in April that Hamlin was cleared to return to playing football after being evaluated by three separate specialists over the offseason. "My heart is still in the game," Hamlin revealed at a news conference at the time. "I love the game. It is something I want to prove to myself, not nobody else."
Hamlin sparked concerns when he collapsed after making a tackle, taking a shot to the head and chest area during the first quarter of the Bills' Monday Night Football game against the Cincinnati Bengals on January 2. Doctors and trainers performed CPR on Hamlin when he lost his pulse as he needed to be revived through resuscitation and defibrillation. The star was on a ventilator for days and left a Cincinnati hospital after a week.