NFL: Buffalo Bills' Damar Hamlin cleared to return to play four months after cardiac arrest during game

Damar Hamlin.
Damar Hamlin. Photo credit: Getty Images

Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin has made the roll call for the start of off-season workouts and is fully cleared to participate in all football activities.

Hamlin is beating even his own expectations for an unbridled return to the team, four months after going into cardiac arrest on the field in the Bills' January 3 game at Cincinnati.

"I've been on a journey and I've seen some of the top professionals available," said Hamlin. "This event was life-changing, but it's not the end of my story.

"My heart is still in it... I just want to show people that you can keep going in something, without having the answers, without knowing what's at the end of the tunnel.

"You keep putting the right foot in front of the left one. I want to stand for that.

"I follow my heart. I let my heart walk in the room before me."

Bill general manager Brendon Beane says medical review has left no doubt Hamlin is ready to return to play.

"He's seen three additional specialists, most recently on Saturday, and they are all in agreement - not 2-1 or 3-1, or anything like that - they're all in lockstep of what this, was and that he's cleared to resume full activity just, like anyone else who is coming back from an injury or whatever.

"He's fully cleared, he's here, and he's in a great head space to come back and make his return."

The day before the Super Bowl in February, Hamlin said he was headed in the right direction and wasn't planning to pause his NFL dreams.

"The last few months have been a journey," Hamlin added. "I've been beating the statistics my whole life, so I like my chances at a comeback."

After losing consciousness on the field, he was given CPR by the Bills medical and training staff. He was rushed to the hospital and the University of Cincinnati medical staff was shocked by the recovery of the 25-year-old safety.

 Buffalo Bills players react after teammate Damar Hamlin had collapsed on field back in January.
Buffalo Bills players react after teammate Damar Hamlin had collapsed on field back in January. Photo credit: Getty Images

During his hospitalisation and the two weeks after, Hamlin said his foundation that raises money for a community toy drive received more than US$9 million (NZ$14.5m) in donations. The non-profit started in 2020 as a GoFundMe campaign, seeking US$2500 (NZ$4030) for a toy drive.

In February, Hamlin said he was committed to educating the public on the merits of CPR training and lifesaving techniques, partnering with the American Heart Association on a national programme to provide free tutorials and videos on emergency breathing and defibrillator use.

A sixth-round pick by Buffalo in 2021, Hamlin has recorded 93 tackles, 1.5 sacks and four passes defensed in 29 games (13 starts) with the Bills.