Safety Damar Hamlin #3 of the Buffalo Bills walks off the field after being ejected for a hit on wide receiver Jakobi Meyers #16 of the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on Dec. 1, 2022, in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Adam Glanzman / Getty Images)
By Lorri Wickenhauser January 4, 2023 at 6:03pm
In a video taken just weeks before his on-field collapse, Buffalo Bills football player Damar Hamlin made a remark that, in retrospect, was chillingly prophetic.
On the Nov. 9 “One Bills Live” broadcast, Hamlin talked about how he appreciated the “super blessing,” of getting to play professional football with his childhood friend and teammate, Dane Jackson, who had been briefly sidelined with a neck injury not long before.
“It feels so surreal, like, I can’t even describe it, but I cherish it every second that I can,” Hamlin said. “Every second of every day. We just had our prayer, our DB prayer we do every Wednesday. [Jackson] was next to me and I just grabbed his hand a little bit harder, just because, you know, you never know when your last day could be that you get [to] experience something like this. I’m cherishing it every moment that I can.”
Hamlin and Jackson were college teammates at Pittsburgh before they both turned professional, Fox News reported.
Jackson joined the Bills in 2020, followed by Hamlin in 2021.
Damar Hamlin earlier this season… pic.twitter.com/QkK3lE3o8I
— Hunter Armor (@HunterArmor) January 3, 2023
Jackson suffered a neck injury in September during a game against the Tennessee Titans, according to Yahoo Sports. His neck snapped back during a tackle, which led to him being taken off the field in an ambulance. After being checked out at a hospital, Jackson was given a clean bill of health.
Do you think Hamlin will ever play again?
Hamlin has not been so fortunate.
The 24-year-old safety collapsed on the field Monday after what appeared to be a routine tackle. He went into cardiac arrest and was rushed to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center where he was still in critical condition Wednesday.
Many fans and well-wishers have been showing their support for Hamlin by donating to his charity fundraiser, Chasin M’s foundation, which raises money to buy toys for children in need, CBN News reported. The athlete’s goal was originally to raise $2,500, but since he was stricken, donations have jumped to more than $6 million and counting.
Damar Hamlin’s ‘Chasing M’s Foundation Community Toy Drive’ has received over $6.6 million in donations ❤️ 💙
“[These donations] are about who he was previously to this injury.” — @mspears96 pic.twitter.com/2pT9DLcb5z
— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) January 4, 2023
“Rare but at a loss for words,” former Buffalo Bills wide receiver Andre Reed posted on Instagram. “Fans banding together in solidarity for #DamarHamlin, #StephonDiggs – a real one — going to the hospital, people donating to Damar’s toy drive …. this restores my faith in humanity.
“LET’S we be more like this in 2023. Remember what really matters in this lifetime.”
“#DamarHamlin … May GOD be with you in this time of need,” Reed concluded. “You’re an amazing young man.”