ORCHARD PARK, New York (AP) — Buffalo Bills safety Dumar Hamlin made his first public appearance since suffering cardiac arrest after a tackle on the Cincinnati Bengals three weeks ago. The AFC Division playoff game waved to fans from the stadium suite on Sunday when the teams met again.
The crowd at Highmark Stadium exploded near the end of the first half when the giant screens in the end zone were filled with footage of Hamlin recovering. Fans made their way to the glass-enclosed suite and cheered.
Hamlin, in his hooded jacket, stands in front of a window, raised his arm As if to salute the crowd and urge them to their feet as the Bengals face their second and first goals at five.
Earlier Sunday, Bills posted the video to Instagram and both. twitter Hamlin arrives in the team’s locker room with the message “Welcome home, Dummer.” The video showed Hamlin arriving in a golf cart about an hour before kickoff, donning sunglasses and a face covering and pulling up the hood of his jacket. He was accompanied by his brother Damir and mother Nina.
He was not seen on the field before the game started in snowy conditions. Bills did not announce his whereabouts to fans in attendance, but rumors of his attendance circulated by the time he appeared on screen.
“It was amazing, really. I think everyone was super excited,” Buffalo’s Bryn Jobson said at halftime. .”
Hamlin, 24, has not been seen in public since the Bills and Bengals last played each other in a game on January 2.
Bills coach Sean McDermott said Hamlin began making regular visits to the team’s facility soon after being discharged from the hospital.
His presence was enough to cheer up his teammates. After Hamlin collapsed, the medical team surrounded him as they used his CPR and an automated external defibrillator (AED) to restart his heart.
For several minutes, TV viewers who had watched that Monday night’s game instead absorbed the fear and sadness on the faces of the players, some of whom were in tears.
A spokesman for Hamlin’s family said this week that he is still facing a lengthy rehab.
Jordan Rooney told the Associated Press: “Dummer still needs oxygen and his heart is being monitored regularly to make sure there are no complications or sequelae.
The Bills have not disclosed the results of tests they underwent to determine why Hamlin’s heart stopped after being struck in the chest while making what was believed to be a regular tackle.
The Pittsburgh-area native Hamlin live-tweeted from his hospital bed at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center on Jan. 8 as he watched Buffalo’s 35-23 season-ending victory over New England. Came home to see the Bills win his 34-31 victory over Miami in the wild card playoffs.
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