The NFL Honors ceremony is an annual event that recognizes the best football players of the year. However, this year’s event was special as the first responders who saved Damar Hamlin’s life after he suffered cardiac arrest on the field during a Monday Night Football game in January were honored.
Actress Sheryl Lee Ralph introduced the medical personnel on stage, followed by Hamlin himself. The Buffalo Bills safety received a standing ovation from the NFL players and celebrities in the audience before giving his speech.
In his speech, 24-year-old Hamlin expressed his gratitude to God for allowing him to be alive and spoke about his journey ahead.
He acknowledged that his sudden cardiac arrest was not part of his vision for his life, but that God’s plan for him was greater than any game.
“First I would like to just thank God for even being here,” he began his speech. “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 first responders for their quick action in saving his life and for being there for him on stage. He also thanked everyone around the world who prayed for him and hoped for him during his recovery.
After suffering cardiac arrest during the first quarter of the game, Hamlin was taken to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, where he spent a week.
He was later transferred to another hospital in Buffalo and was released two days later. According to his friend and business partner Jordon Rooney, Hamlin still has a lengthy recovery ahead of him, but remains upbeat and positive.
The safety’s speech was a reminder that sometimes, life can take us down unexpected paths, but it’s always important to have a positive outlook and be grateful for the journey.