NFL commissioner Roger Goodell addressed Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin and his ongoing recovery in an open letter to fans on Saturday morning.
“Damar Hamlin’s inspiring progress over the past few days has lifted the spirits of the entire NFL and football fans across the country,” Goodell wrote, per NFL.com.
“While his recovery is just beginning, we thank the NFL medical personnel and the medical staffs from both teams whose emergency action quite likely saved his life. We are also grateful to the professionals at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center who tended to Damar and continue to oversee his care.
“Seeing the entire NFL family — teams, players, coaches, and fans like you — band together was yet another reminder that football is family: human, loving and resilient.”
Hamlin recently had his breathing tube removed and began talking with his care team and family. He also addressed the Bills’ players on a Zoom call during a team meeting Friday morning, telling teammates, “Love ya boys.”
Goodell announced in his open letter that players and coaches from all 32 teams will wear “Love for Damar 3” T-shirts during pre-game warmups this weekend in a show of support for Hamlin.
Hamlin, 24, collapsed on the field in the first quarter due to cardiac arrest in Monday night’s game against the host Cincinnati Bengals.
Not long after Hamlin was transported by ambulance, fans began to share the GoFundMe page that Hamlin established when he played collegiately at Pittsburgh. The goal of the drive through Hamlin’s Chasing M’s foundation was to help provide toys to children during the pandemic.
GoFundMe verified the page Tuesday morning and said Hamlin’s initial goal of $2,500 was far exceeded by nearly 130,000 donations in the 10 hours after he collapsed on the field.
At 1 p.m. ET on Saturday, the fund was at more than $8.2 million.
On Friday, Hamlin was named the winner of the NFL Players Association’s Week 18 Community MVP award.
The recognition comes with a $10,000 contribution to Hamlin’s Chasing M’s foundation.
–Field Level Media