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Damar Hamlin is cleared to play football, 4 months after his on-field cardiac arrest

A scoreboard shows a message of support for Damar Hamlin at a January Bills-Patriots game in New York. The Bills' general manager says Hamlin has been cleared to play.
Timothy T Ludwig
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Getty Images
A scoreboard shows a message of support for Damar Hamlin at a January Bills-Patriots game in New York. The Bills' general manager says Hamlin has been cleared to play.

Buffalo Bills' safety Damar Hamlin has been cleared to resume full football activities, just a little more than four months after he collapsed on the field after suffering a cardiac arrest.

He's officially back to working out with the team, Brandon Beane, the Bills' general manager, said at a pre-draft press conference on Tuesday.

"He's fully cleared, he's here and ... he's in a great headspace to come back and make his return," Beane said.

Hamlin's heart stopped beating after a tackle during an away game against the Cincinnati Bengals on Jan. 2. He received CPR on the fields within minutes, which experts credit with drastically improving his odds of survival.

He spent nearly a week being treated at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, where doctors said he was on a "very normal" or even "accelerated trajectory" in his recovery. After a few more days of evaluation and testing at a hospital in Buffalo, doctors determined he could "continue his rehabilitation at home and with the Bills."

Hamlin has seen three additional specialists since then, most recently on Friday, according to Beane.

"They're all in lockstep of what this was and that he's clear to resume full activity," he added. "He's just like anyone else who was coming back from an injury or whatever."

Hamlin, who turned 25 in March, has made appearances across the country in the intervening months.

He was honored alongside the first responders who helped save his life at a pre-Super Bowl ceremony in February.

He also received the NFLPA's Alan Page Community Award, which rewards the player who goes "above and beyond to perform community service in his team city and/or hometown." A toy drive sponsored by Hamlin's charity, the Chasing M Foundation, has raised more than $9 million, almost entirely in the wake of his injury.

President Biden praised Hamlin's "courage, resilience and spirit" when the two met in Washington, D.C., late last month. In a video shared to Twitter, the president can be seen asking the athlete whether he's going to be able to play again.

"Yeah, I think so," Hamlin says with a smile.

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Rachel Treisman (she/her) is a writer and editor for the Morning Edition live blog, which she helped launch in early 2021.