Damar Hamlin‘s coach, Sean McDermott, is joining the rest of the Buffalo Bills team in sending his best wishes for the athlete’s recovery. McDermott got visibly emotional on Thursday during a press conference alongside Bills quarterback Josh Allen, discussing the 24-year-old safety’s condition.
In the three days since Hamlin suffered cardiac arrest on the field, fans and supporters have come together to donate to the Chasing M’s Foundation Community Toy Drive, which he established in 2020.
The initial goal was for $2,500 to provide toys to a daycare center in McKees Rocks, Pennsylvania. As of Jan. 6, it has reached more than $7.7 million.
Reflecting on this impressive outpouring of support, McDermott said, “I’m not a big social media person, but Josh [Allen] did share something with me via text that he saw earlier today, and I looked at it, and it was about what maybe Damar’s mom [Nina] is going to share with him when he wakes up.”
McDermott got choked up, pausing to regain his composure.
“Excuse me, it’s amazing to know the impact that this has had on so many people,” he said of Hamlin. “And for now, Damar to be awake and his mom to be able to share that with him is incredible.”
“It’s amazing to know the impact that this has had on so many people. And for Damar to be awake and his mom to be able to share that with him is incredible.”
— Buffalo Bills (@BuffaloBills) January 5, 2023
When asked about how his own mental health was holding up in the wake of Hamlin’s health scare, McDermott deflected.
“Again, this isn’t about me. I’m human, just like anybody else. There’s been moments as we just had that it overwhelms you,” he replied. “It’s come up more than a couple of times for me at different points in time, but like anybody else, I need to be able to have enough self-awareness to know when I need a break and when I need to seek out a counselor as well. So I think that’s important to know that’s not a sign of weakness, that’s a sign of strength.”
Doctors from the University of Cincinnati Medical Center also spoke about Hamlin’s medical condition, noting that he is awake and asked, while communicating in writing, if the Bills had won the game.
“When he asked, ‘Did we win?’ the answer is, ‘Yes, Damar, you won. You’ve won the game of life,’” said Dr. Timothy Pritts, the Division Chief of General Surgery at UC Health. “That’s probably the most important thing out of this, and we really need to keep him at the center of what’s going on.”
Pritts, along with Dr. William Knight IV, said they’ve seen “substantial improvement” in Hamlin over the last 24 hours. The doctors added that his neurological appears “intact,” though Hamlin remains “critically ill” and in “critical condition.”