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Damar Hamlin hugs the first responders who saved his life at NFL Honors

Damar Hamlin hugs the first responders who saved his life at NFL Honors

Hamlin suffered a cardiac arrest on the field during a game

NFL star Damar Hamlin pulled first responders in for a hug as they were recognised for saving his life when he suffered cardiac arrest on the field.

Hamlin, 24, expressed his thanks for the medics as he took to the stage at the annual NFL Honors awards ceremony on Thursday (9 February).

He was joined by the personnel and received a standing ovation as he approached the microphone just a few weeks after he collapsed in the middle of a Monday Night Football game between his Buffalo Bills and the Cincinnati Bengals in January.

Medics administered CPR to Hamlin on the field before he was taken away in an ambulance to spend a week at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center.

The footballer was then moved to another hospital in Buffalo before being released another two days later.

As he took to the stage, Hamlin began: "First I would like to just thank God for even being here. Sudden cardiac arrest was nothing I would've ever chosen to be a part of my story. But that's because sometimes, our own visions are too small. My vision was about playing in the NFL and being the best player I could be.

"But God's plan was to have a purpose greater than any game in this world."

Hamlin thanked the medics who helped save his life.

Hamlin went on to make clear he has a 'long journey ahead', one full of 'unknowns' and 'milestones'.

However, he continued: "It's a lot easier to face your fears when you have a purpose."

The footballer then thanked those who surrounded him on stage for helping to save his life and pulled them all in for a group hug.

"I want to give a special thank you to everyone on this stage for everything they did for me," he said. "And thank you to everyone around the world who prayed for me and hoped for me. The journey will continue."

After Hamlin's scary experience on the field, NFL Players Association executive director, DeMaurice Smith, said he hoped it 'sends a message' to fans and others involved in the NFL.

Hamlin hugged those on stage with him at the event.

“Our men are not gladiators,” Smith said. “I hope ... that people are aware of the humanity of this game. And yes, it’s dangerous, and yes, it’s scary – yes, it’s entertainment. But my hope is that people understand and appreciate the sheer humanity of this game.”

As well as appearing on stage alongside the medical staff, Hamlin stepped in front of the crowd as he was honoured with the NFLPA's Alan Page Community Award for his work raising more than $9 million (£7.4m) for his Chasing M's Foundation, supporting children in his community.

Featured Image Credit: NFL

Topics: Sport, Football, Health