Buffalo Bills player Damar Hamlin is sharing his gratitude as he continues to recover after suffering cardiac arrest during a game on Jan. 2.
Hamlin shared a video message via Instagram, the first time he’s spoken publicly since he was hospitalized.
“As I continue to make so much progress recovering, I think it’s finally a good time to share a few things,” Hamlin began.
READ MORE: Damar Hamlin Attends First Buffalo Bills Game Since Suffering Cardiac Arrest
“I think 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,” he continued.
“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 said. “What happened to me on ‘Monday Night Football’ I feel is a direct example of God using me as a vessel to share my passion and my love directly from my heart with the entire world and I’m able to give it back to kids and communities all across the world who need it the most, and that’s always been my dream. That’s always been what I stood for and what I will continue to stand for.”
He thanked the medical personnel who have been treating him, as well as his parents, “who are literally my anchors and my everything, who never left my side the entire time,” in addition to his younger brother, other family members and the Bills.
“Ever since I became a Buffalo Bill, it’s been nothing but genuine love and support,” he noted. “It really encouraged me, and helped me to get through the toughest moments.”
He also praised the Cincinatti Bengals, whom the Bills were playing during that game, and the entire city of Cincinatti. “Just to put team allegiance aside, to root for one kid’s life and just the humanity of a player that’s wearing Buffalo blue, to put humanity above team loyalty, you showed the world unity over division,” he said.
READ MORE: Damar Hamlin Released From Hospital 10 Days After Cardiac Arrest During NFL Game
“It’s always been important for me to be a role model, but just seeing the love and the support from the youth,” Hamlin added, “it just makes me want to give back and get out in the communities and touch the kids and just be that example that they can look to, touch, feel, talk to and know that whatever they dream of, it’s real. It can happen if you stay focused, stay dedicated, stay committed to whatever you got going on, you know, because that’s pretty much what got me here.”
Hamlin concluded by forming a heart with his hands.
“I will continue to do wonderful and great things,” Hamlin said. “I couldn’t do this without any of the support and the love, and I can’t wait to continue to take y’all on this journey with me.”