Damar Hamlin attends the Bills' playoff game against Bengals

Damar Hamlin attends the Bills' playoff game against Bengals

Sharing the love! Returning hero Damar Hamlin makes a ‘heart’ sign with his hands as he’s applauded by fans in his first public appearance since suffering a cardiac arrest and receiving CPR on the field… but his presence can’t help Bills to a win

  • Damar Hamlin suffered cardiac arrest on the field during Bills-Bengals in Week 17
  • He faces a lengthy recovery as he recovers but attended the emotional reunion
  • Click here for all your latest international Sports news from DailyMail.com

Damar Hamlin was the guest of honor in an emotional scene at Sunday’s Buffalo Bills-Cincinnati Bengals playoff game in Western New York, as the injured safety made his first public appearance since suffering cardiac arrest and collapsing when the two teams faced weeks earlier. 

Hamlin made a the shape of a heart with his hands as he appeared on the scoreboard in Orchard Park from a luxury suite atop Highmark Stadium. He also greeted teammates earlier in the locker room before the game. 

The 24-year-old Pittsburgh native has made a remarkable recovery in the weeks since he was successfully revived on the field at Paycor Stadium in Cincinnati following a hit on the Bengals’ Tee Higgins. That recovery was visible on Sunday, when Hamlin was seen standing behind a pane of glass from his luxury suite and not limited to a wheelchair. 

Damar Hamlin made a the shape of a heart with his hands as he appeared on the scoreboard in Orchard Park from a luxury suite atop Highmark Stadium

Damar Hamlin attended the Bills’ playoff game against the Bengals in an emotional reunion

In a video shared to the Bills’ Twitter account, Hamlin could be seen arriving at Buffalo’s facilities, driven by a security cart to the team’s dressing room. 

Keeping his head dipped down and his hood up, Hamlin made a quick move from the cart into the locker room. 

Hamlin was not seen on the field on Sunday, but his presence in the stadium was palpable, given the ‘welcome’ signs being held by team fans, known as the Bills Mafia.  

His mother, Nina, was also spotted arriving with Hamlin’s younger brother, Damir, 7. 

He faces a lengthy recovery – and his family spokesperson said earlier this week that he ‘still requires oxygen.’

Before the matchup, Hamlin tweeted a video from a previous game of him on the field, running to meet his family in the stands, with the simple caption, ‘GameDay… 3pm,’ with a hands-making-a-heart emoji, his signature move, and two red hearts. 

Hamlin had tackled Bengals receiver Tee Higgins in the first quarter of the pivotal Monday night game on January 2 – when the two teams last met – and got up briefly before falling backwards to the ground and laying motionless.

Hamlin (left) had a cardiac arrest after a tackle playing against the Bengals back on January 2

Hamlin was administered CPR on the field and was taken by ambulance to a Cincinnati hospital

He was attended to by members of the Bills training staff, including Denny Kellington – who was identified as the man who gave Hamlin necessary CPR. 

Hamlin spent more than a week in the hospital, part of that time in critical condition, before eventually being able to return home after making encouraging progress. 

Since being released Hamlin has visited the Bills’ training facility almost on a daily basis, according to team personnel, but his recovery is expected to take a long time.

‘Damar still requires oxygen and is having his heart monitored regularly to ensure there are no setbacks or after effects,’ Jordon Rooney, Hamlin’s longtime friend and business partner, told Associated Press Thursday. 

‘Though he is able to visit the team´s facility, Damar is not in position to travel often, and requires additional rest to help his body heal.’ 

Hamlin reunited with his teammates Saturday and toasted their wildcard playoff win against Miami Dolphins from home.

Bills LB Matt Milano shared a pic of teammate Hamlin back with the team last Saturday 

The 24-year-old tweeted his support ahead of the Bills’ game against the Dolphins last week 

Bills safety Hamlin was released from hospital in Buffalo and continued his recovery at home 

He is back in the building taking ‘baby steps’ on his road to a full recovery, Bills head coach Sean McDermott revealed.  

‘Damar is in the building now, almost daily, and that’s good news,’ McDermott told reporters ahead of practice Wednesday. 

‘As he continues to improve that helps [the rest of the team]. That experience, we’ll carry that with us. There’s a challenge to [dealing with] that but also a lot of good that came from that and we need to focus on the positives right now.’

Asked specifically what Hamlin has been able to do since coming back into the building, McDermott added: ‘It’s limited overall but he comes in and is just trying to get back to a bit of a routine. Taking one baby step at a time.’

McDermott is keen for his group to ‘focus on positives’ right now with Hamlin making progress but when asked to reflect on the lasting impact Hamlin’s cardiac arrest had on him, the Bills coach’s faith came to the fore.

‘I think just as a world, the biggest thing I learned as a human is people putting aside their agendas for the common good to achieve one goal,’ he added.

Bills coach Sean McDermott said the safety is taking ‘baby steps’ on his road to a full recovery

A mural dedicated to Bills safety Hamlin in the Larkinville neighborhood of Buffalo

‘I’m 48 years old and I shared this story with my kids on Sunday after the New England game, the first chance I’d had to slow down. When you can go through life, 48 years, without anything like that happen you realize god is real and the power of prayer. 

QB Josh Allen said something similar to his coach previously when asked about the lasting impact of seeing Hamlin go down. 

‘[There was] just kind of kind of a spiritual awakening really for me, and I know for a lot of other people that maybe didn’t have the strongest belief, or wasn’t one of the biggest [or] strongest Christian followers,’ the Bills QB told ESPN’s Kyle Brandt ahead of the playoff matchup with the Dolphins.

‘Something got a hold of me there,’ Allen added. ‘It was extremely powerful that I couldn’t deny.’

To give back to the hospital that saved his life, Hamlin launched a series of t-shirts with proceeds going back to the UC Medical Center. 

The Bills player has also set up charity toy drives to raise money for his local community. 

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