Buffalo Bills player Damar Hamlin has spoken publicly for the first time since his heart went silent on January 2 in the middle of a Monday Night Football game watched by millions.

He shocked fans when he went to the ground after his first-quarter hit on host Cincinnati’s Tee Higgins, and then team health personnel began CPR on the field.

Experts believe Hamlin may have suffered from a rare phenomenon, «commotio cordis,» in which the heart is vulnerable for less than one-fifth of a second to blunt force that can disrupt its normal rhythm and lead to death in some cases.

However, Hamlin’s recovery countered this dire narrative by setting his own impressive pace, and Saturday marked the milestone of his first public words since the incident.

The Buffalo Bills player said he was in no hurry.

«It was important for me to wait and speak publicly at the right time, as it was a lot to process within myself, mentally, physically and even spiritually,» the safety said.

The player is taking lessons from the episode and thanking the doctors at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, Cincinnati and Buffalo hospitals, team doctors and medical staff, teammates, coaches, team staff, his mother, father and brother, and the «Bills Mafia». fans who helped him progress.

«What happened to me at Monday Night Football, I feel is a direct example of God using me as a vessel to share my passion and my love straight from my heart with the whole world,» Hamlin said. «And now I can give it back to charities and communities around the world, who need it most, and that’s always been my dream.»

A fundraising account that Hamlin had opened in 2020 to support a toy drive in his hometown of McKees Rocks, Pennsylvania, was flooded after he was hospitalized. On Saturday night, more than 247,000 donations totaled $9,018,830.

«I don’t even have the words to express my gratitude for the amount of support that was given to something that we started long before I came to the NFL,» Hamlin said.

Security seemed to have their greatest gratitude for the children: «to all the children who sent me heartwarming letters and gifts,» Hamlin said.

«You mean the world to me,» he continued. «You made my day every day. You inspired me to keep dreaming big.»