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Damar Hamlin explains why he decided to play football in the NFL again

Damar Hamlin’s on-field cardiac arrest during a “Monday Night Football” match in January was a moment of national trauma that occurred on live television. His recovery from the near-death experience and his poise as an individual ultimately inspired the nation. Yet his decision to play in the National Football League again after the personal medical trauma he suffered has left many wondering how he ever found the courage to return.

In a recent CNBC CEO Council Summit interview, Hamlin — who has been in recent practices with the Bills after being fully cleared to return to play in April — made it clear that his decision to return to the NFL was never really. questioned based on the approach he has always taken in life and based on what football has always meant to him.

“Football has always been my peace. It’s always been my escape from the world. And it’s kind of been where I’ve overcome my fears the most in my life,” Hamlin said at the CEO event. from CNBC.

Hamlin noted that he also looked at the statistics to make his decision.

Hamlin suffered commotio cordis, a rare heart condition that occurs when there is a sharp impact to the chest just as the heart is preparing to contract. If the physical blow strikes during a narrow heartbeat window – a period of time as brief as 20 to 40 milliseconds – it can disrupt the heartbeat and cause sudden cardiac arrest. According to the American Heart Association, there are fewer than 10 cases of commotio cordis per year, and most cases occur in young male athletes, often in youth sports like baseball.

During the week Bills returned to practices, the players received CPR training. Hamlin has become a leading advocate for heart health through a partnership with the American Heart Association, and major support of efforts to get more lifesaving medical equipment and training into schools. With prompt CPR and defibrillation, survival and recovery rates after an episode of commotio cordis are greater than 50 percent, according to the AHA. Hamlin recently spoke about the issue on Capitol Hill.

Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin is seen outside the United States Capitol before a press conference on the AED Access Act, which aims to improve access to defibrillators in schools, Wednesday, March 29 2023.

tom williams | CQ-Roll Call, Inc. | Getty Images

Doctors are confident Hamlin is healthy enough to play football again, and it’s very rare for anyone to suffer commotio cordis twice, or for survivors to be more likely to suffer from other heart problems, according to the report. American Heart Association. . Commotio cordis is not linked to any underlying heart problems or heart disease.

Research from Massachusetts General Hospital, along with numerous other studies around the world, has found that one in four cardiac arrest survivors may develop major post-traumatic stress disorder, which often leads them to avoid situations that may remind survivors of the health crisis. .

Hamlin told CNBC he is focused on the future. “You know, try to see it as adversity and not so much getting caught up in what happened. Trying to focus on growing from what happened, you know, not a little trying to own the situation, just trying to grow from it,” Hamlin said.

Watch the full video clip above of Hamlin’s interview with NBC Sports’ Maria Taylor at CNBC’s CEO Council Summit to hear the football player in his own words about what his return to the NFL means to him.

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