Damar Hamlin has taken his first defensive snap of the season for the Buffalo Bills and his first in football since his cardiac arrest on the field in January.
Hamlin came on in the fourth quarter for the Bills against Denver Broncos with a minute and 39 seconds remaining and his team leading 22-21.
He received a massive ovation from the Bills fans at Highmark Stadium, coming on for Cam Lewis after had seemingly injured his right arm.
Then, on the first drive, Hamlin tackled Adam Trautman. Going into the game, Hamlin was active for the Bills for just the second time this season.
Hamlin went into cardiac arrest on January 2, playing for the Bills against Cincinnati Bengals.
Damar Hamlin took his first snaps for the Buffalo Bills on Monday night since his cardiac arrest
He tackled Bengals receiver Tee Higgins before returning to his feet, wobbling and collapsing to the Paycor Stadium turf where he needed to be resuscitated.
Three months later, upon announcing that he would play on in the NFL, Hamlin said that he died on national television and that commotio cordis – a direct blow at a specific point in his heartbeat – caused the cardiac arrest.
‘I died on national TV in front of the world,’ Hamlin said in April. ‘It’s (commotio cordis) a direct blow at a specific point in your heartbeat that causes cardiac arrest.
‘Five to seven seconds later, you fall out and that’s pretty much what everyone was seeing January 2 of this year.’
The Bills would go on to lose the game 24-22 in farcical circumstances, accidentally fielding 12 players for a field goal attempt that the Broncos missed.
Due to the error, the Broncos were allowed to retake the attempt and move five yards further up the field. They converted the kick and they won the game.
But while the Bills season hangs by a thread after the defeat, the significance of Hamlin getting his first minutes in the NFL this season cannot be understated.