Former Buffalo Bills player, local resident shares emotions following Damar Hamlin’s injury

Published: Jan. 6, 2023 at 10:37 PM CST
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Doctors say Damar Hamlin, the Buffalo Bills player who suffered a cardiac arrest and collapsed while playing against the Cincinnati Bengals Monday, is improving and was able to speak on his own to his teammates Friday.

WLBT reached out to former Bills player and local resident Leon Seals for his reaction to the injury.

“I thought I was dreaming. I don’t think I saw what I saw,” he said.

The incident that occurred live on Monday Night Football game left the world in shock. Hamlin made a tackle, then suddenly collapsed.

“I am sitting there watching it and watching the tackle and then all of sudden I see Damar go down,” Seals said. “It was shocking. The crazy thing about is it was not a violent hit, it was not a cheap shot, it was not someone getting revenge, it was normal tackle if there is such a thing in the NFL.”

Seals knows all too well about the game of football and the dangers it can bring.

He played college football at Jackson State University, earning the nickname “Dr. Sack.” He joined the Buffalo Bills in the 1987 NFL Draft as a fourth-round draft choice. He played with the team until 1991.

“When he went down, and I heard they started CPR and were trying to resuscitate him, my phone started ringing and some of my buddies started calling me from the Buffalo area and from the Memphis area,” Seals said. “As an athlete, we are taught to go out there and beat, stomp people and tackle them and break them down, but when something like this happens you have to stop and wonder. It weighs on you.”

Doctors at the hospital say so far, Hamlin has made a remarkable recovery. His breathing tube has been removed and he is talking.

Since his injury, Hamlin has received a massive outpouring of support.

“When I say, I’ve never seen every NFL Team get on the same page, every team was on the same page then and they are on the same page now,” Seals stated. “This was an NFL game that was stopped, that has never happened before. You had Cincinnati Fans and Buffalo Fans praying together and that is what we need in this world today; for people to come together.”

The former Bills player says he will continue to pray for Hamlin on his long road to recovery.

“My prayers are continuing with him, my prayers are continuing with Damar, his family, and everyone involved. Hopefully, he will be playing again. When that day comes, and when I hear that he is he will probably make the roster and start, I definitely want to be on a flight to Buffalo because I want to see it for myself,” Seals said.

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