Buffalo Bills' Damar Hamlin Remains in ICU as Donations for His Charity's Toy Drive Exceed $4 Million

Buffalo Bills' Damar Hamlin photographed at an August game.Buffalo Bills' Damar Hamlin photographed at an August game.
Buffalo Bills' Damar Hamlin photographed at an August game.Getty

The 24-year-old safety was sedated early Tuesday and is still in critical condition following his cardiac arrest on the field in a Monday night game against the Cincinnati Bengals.

Support is pouring in for NFL player Damar Hamlin’s chosen charity, with fans donating more than $4 million to support holiday toy drives as the 24-year-old safety remains in critical condition in the intensive care unit after going into cardiac arrest on the field Monday night, the Buffalo Bills said in a Tuesday afternoon statement.

The GoFundMe page had originally been created in December of 2020, with hopes of donating funds and supplies , but received renewed support following Hamlin’s collapse during his game against the Cincinnati Bengals.

“This fundraiser was initially established to support a toy drive for Damar’s community, sponsored by the Chasing M’s Foundation,” an update on the fundraiser page read. “However, it has received renewed support in light of Damar’s current battle and we can’t thank all of you enough. Your generosity and compassion mean the world to us.”

While Hamlin’s Chasing M’s Foundation intended to raise $2,500 for the initiative, more than 150,000 fans quickly surpassed that goal with their donations.

“As I embark on my journey to the NFL, I will never forget where I come from and I am committed to using my platform to positively impact the community that raised me,” Hamlin wrote in the original fundraiser’s description, explaining the meaning of the

Hamlin, who plays defense for the Buffalo Bills, was delivering a tackle to an opponent on the Cincinnati Bengals when he suddenly collapsed upon standing up. His team said in a statement that he was “sedated” early Tuesday morning to facilitate his recovery.

He has reportedly been placed in a medically-induced coma and is breathing with the help of a ventilator. Doctors say it will be several days before they can give a long-term prognosis. 

ER physician Dr. Michael Daignault, who did not treat Hamlin but watched his fall on television, tells Inside Edition that Hamlin likely suffered commotio cordis, an extremely rare blunt force trauma event that stopped his heart. 

"The timing of getting that contusion has to occur when the heart is getting ready to start again," he tells Inside Edition. "If you have those elements line up perfectly, its just bad luck."

The key to surviving such an event is getting CPR started as quickly as possible, he says. 

"Timing is essential to starting CPR, delivering those shocks," he says. "If you can do that quickly it greatly increases the chances of survival."

Buffalo radio announcer Eric Wood, who was in the stadium, says Hamlin's fellow players' were clearly shocked by what was happening and the stadium was eerily quiet. Players were also on their knees and holding hands, many in prayer. 

"You can see the worried looks on their faces," he says. 

As medics worked on Hamlin, his teammates gathered around to shield him from TV cameras. An ambulance was driven onto the field and Hamlin's mother Nina, who was watching in the stands, was ushered down to be by her son's side. The pair are said to be very close. 

"On behalf of our family, we want to express our sincere gratitude for the love and support shown to Damar during this challenging time. We are deeply moved by the prayers, kind words, and donations from fans around the country,” Hamlin's family said in a statement.

As the ambulance left the stadium, the Bills players formed a circle, knelt and prayed. 

The game has been postponed indefinitely. Bengals owner Mike Brown said in a statement that “the Bengals continue to send their thoughts and prayers to Damar Hamlin and his family. Our hearts are with everyone in this unprecedented time – what we can do is support one another.”


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