Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin played in his team’s first preseason game. Charles Krupa/AP CNN —
Buffalo Bills star Damar Hamlin took part in the team’s first preseason game Saturday against the Indianapolis Colts, marking his first action in an NFL game since suffering a cardiac arrest on the field in January.
The 25-year-old safety was welcomed warmly by the Bills fans in Orchard Park, New York, as the team ran onto the field at Highmark Stadium. Hamlin entered the game at 11:38 of the first quarter on kickoff coverage following a Bills touchdown.
Hamlin played on special teams and defense and made three tackles in limited playing time, including a fourth down tackle to force a turnover on downs.
The Bills safety was appearing on the NFL playing field for the first time since he went into cardiac arrest on January 2.
Hamlin collapsed after making a tackle, taking a shot to the head and chest area during the first quarter of the Bills’ Monday Night Football game against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Doctors and trainers performed CPR on Hamlin when he lost his pulse and he needed to be revived through resuscitation and defibrillation. He was on a ventilator for days and spent over a week in a Cincinnati hospital.
Hamlin was making his first appearance since suffering a cardiac arrest in January. Gregory Fisher/USA Today/Reuters
Hamlin was fully cleared to resume football activities in April after being evaluated by three separate specialists over the offseason and it was determined that his cardiac arrest was caused by commotio cordis, which can occur when severe trauma to the chest disrupts the heart’s electrical charge and causes dangerous fibrillations (or abnormal heartbeats).
“I died on national TV in front of the whole world,” Hamlin said in April in his first session with reporters since the injury.
“My heart is still in it. My heart is still in the game. I love the game. It’s something I want to prove to myself, not nobody else.”
He has since reached several milestones on his return to the NFL, including participating in full practice in June before donning pads again in July.
CNN’s Jill Martin and Zoe Sottile contributed to this report.