Injured NFL player Hamlin thanks team, doctors, fans for support
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Recovering Buffalo Bills player Damar Hamlin, who went into cardiac arrest during an NFL game earlier this month, thanked his team, doctors and fans for their support in a video released over the weekend.
"It was important for me to wait and speak publicly at the right time, as it was just a lot to process within my own self. Mentally, physically, even spiritually, it's just been a lot to process," Hamlin said in the video posted to his Instagram account Saturday.
"I can't tell you how appreciative I am of all the love, all the support and everything that's just been coming in my way."
Hamlin, a defensive safety, collapsed on the field on January 2 after taking a hard hit during the Bills' regular season game against the Bengals in Cincinnati, forcing the teams to abandon the game.
The frightening scenes saw medical staff restore his heartbeat on the field using CPR and defibrillators.
Players and personnel from both teams were left stunned, with some crying and praying as doctors treated Hamlin.
Last week, he watched the Bengals' 27-10 defeat of the Bills from a stadium suite, receiving a standing ovation when he was introduced to the crowd during the postseason matchup.
In the Instagram video, Hamlin thanked members of the Bills' staff by name, as well as first responders, hospital staff in Cincinnati and Buffalo, his family, teammates, Bengals players and Bills fans.
"My mind is literally blown away from all the support. I don't even have the words to express the gratitude for the amount of support that was given," he said.
"Ever since I became a Buffalo Bill, it's been nothing but genuine love and support... Bills mafia jumped behind it and gave 110 percent support," he added, referring to Bills supporters.
"It really helped me stay encouraged to get through the toughest moments and the toughest times."
Thanking donors to his charity, Hamlin said he would continue to act as a role model to children and give back to others.
His fundraiser to support a children's toy drive received an outpouring of support after his injury, with the GoFundMe online fundraiser reaching more than $9 million as of Sunday, dwarfing the initial goal of $2,500.