NEW YORK – The New York Yankees honored Damar Hamlin as part of their 14th annual HOPE (Helping Others Persevere and Excel) Week on Monday.
Hamlin has become a household name, but it didn’t happen exactly as he hoped. The Buffalo Bills safety went into cardiac arrest after making a routine tackle on Jan. 2 on «Monday Night Football.» Trainers administered CPR for nine minutes to the then 24-year-old, and when he was first admitted to the hospital, he was in critical condition.
But six months and one day later, he’s spreading the word about what saved his life.
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Hamlin, members of the American Heart Association and the New York City Public School Athletic Leagues, and Sarah Taffet, a former Fordham softball player who also required CPR during a game after being touched on the chest , they traveled to the Bronx to teach CPR. to members of the Yankees.
The safety has been increasingly in the spotlight since the incident: He recently threw out the first pitch at a hometown Pittsburgh Pirates game, and will do the same before Monday night’s Yankees game. He’ll also be honored at the ESPY Awards, appeared on «The Masked Singer» and made the trip to the NFL Honors Awards in February, just a month after the scary moment.
This, of course, is in addition to the fact that he practiced with his team on the OTAs several weeks ago.
However, teaming up with the Yankees could have an impact like no other, Hamlin says.
«For them to take time out in the middle of their stretch, to come here and learn CPR, the people who see figures like them in the community, they all look up to the Yankees,» Hamlin told reporters after the class ended. «They’re a staple in the story. For people who see them come here and learn CPR, it’s going to have a huge effect on the rest of the world that wants to get trained.»
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Hamlin is entering his third season in the NFL; of course, he expected everyone to know his name for another reason besides «the guy who almost died in the field». But he has turned one of the worst days of his life into not only a positive, but his mission in his life.
«It makes me feel like I’m doing my part and making an impact to change the world,» Hamlin said. «That’s been my goal my whole life. Before all of this, I had my eyes set on making an impact in the world in some way. I didn’t know what that would look like, but I’m fine with this platform, and I’m fine too. with history. So I’ll continue to do my part and have an impact on the world and change it.»
«To be able to learn this now, and hopefully I’ll never have to use it on somebody, but if I do, I’ll be good to go,» said Yankees first baseman Anthony Rizzo, who admitted he never learned CPR before Monday. reporters
Rookie shortstop Anthony Volpe echoed Rizzo’s sentiments.
«It’s amazing. Everyone can save a life,» Volpe said. «Obviously we never want to use what we all learned today, but for them to take the time was very special.»
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The Yankees also donated $10,000 to the American Heart Association.
Hamlin’s Bills open the season just a few miles from Yankee Stadium when they take on the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium on September 11, fittingly a Monday night.