Damar Hamlin and His First Responders Honored by NFL Before Super Bowl 2023

Hamlin shared hugs and handshakes with the medical teams from the Cincinnati Bengals organization and the University of Cincinnati Medical Center before kickoff

ORCHARD PARK, NY - SEPTEMBER 19: Damar Hamlin #3 of the Buffalo Bills after a game against the Tennessee Titans at Highmark Stadium on September 19, 2022 in Orchard Park, New York. (Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images)
Photo: Timothy T Ludwig/Getty

Damar Hamlin took the field before Super Bowl 2023 for a touching moment with the first responders and healthcare professionals that saved his life last month following a cardiac arrest.

Just prior to kickoff, the NFL honored the medical teams from the Cincinnati Bengals and University of Cincinnati Medical Center in a special tribute.

"These heroes work every day to keep their community safe, and also led Damar Hamlin's medical team during his recovery," an announcer said.

The Buffalo Bills safety, 24, then joined them on the field to share hugs and handshakes with every team member present.

The tribute follows a similar showing of support for Hamlin and the medical teams from Cincinnatti during this year's NFL Honors.

During the Thursday night broadcast, the personnel who acted swiftly to revive Hamlin after he collapsed on the field during a Jan. 2 game were honored for their work.

Abbott Elementary star Sheryl Lee Ralph introduced them on the stage, followed soon after by Hamlin, which earned a standing ovation from the NFL players and celebrities in the crowd.

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Hamlin then took the microphone to share his gratitude. "First I would like to just thank God for even being here," he began. "Sudden cardiac arrest was nothing I would've ever chosen to be a part of my story. But that's because sometimes, our own visions are too small. My vision was about playing in the NFL and being the best player I could be."

"But God's plan was to have a purpose greater than any game in this world."

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He then thanked the first responders who surrounded him on the stage, before pulling them all together in a group embrace.

"I want to give a special thank you to everyone on this stage for everything they did for me," Hamlin said. "And thank you to everyone around the world who prayed for me and hoped for me. The journey will continue."

Hamlin was injured early in the first quarter of the Bills' Monday Night Football game against the Cincinnati Bengals after making a tackle. The safety quickly popped back up, before suddenly collapsing. Medical personnel administered CPR to Hamlin and appeared to give him oxygen before the ambulance took him away.

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