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Home Local Wearing a helmet, Damar Hamlin participates in full Buffalo Bills practice

Wearing a helmet, Damar Hamlin participates in full Buffalo Bills practice

by Janiya Croxie
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Originally Published: 07 JUN 23 05:41 ET

By Ben Morse, CNN

(CNN) — Wearing a helmet and seemingly in good spirits, Damar Hamlin participated in full practice with the Buffalo Bills for the first time since his cardiac arrest in January.

Hamlin was seen waving to the cameras, making the heart symbol gesture with which he has become synonymous during his recovery process and displaying the number three – his number with the Bills – with his fingers as he and his teammates went through warm ups.

It was a momentous occasion for Hamlin as he took part in full on-field drills for the first time, something Bills general manager Brandon Beane highlighted when speaking to the media on Tuesday.

“Really proud of him to take that next step,” Beane told reporters. “He’s still got more milestones to hit, but to think back, we’re just at the beginning of June and that was the beginning of January, and we were just hoping he’d live, and now he’s not only got a normal life, but we’re talking about playing, not any football, NFL football.

“So, thrilled for him, all the people that have been around him, and it’s an amazing story.”

Beane outlined the path back to football for Hamlin, explaining that live contact is one of the next goals and something they hope to achieve during training camp.

“We’ll continue to ramp him up with helmets on. But that’ll be probably the next big hurdle for him, tackling,” Beane said.

According to ESPN’s Alaina Getzenberg, Hamlin’s day of practice was a typical one for most players.

Getzenberg said that in the practice session, which was open to the media, Hamlin was seen in coverage against running back Nyheim Hines on a ball thrown downfield, defending against wide receiver KeeSean Johnson on a pass from quarterback Kyle Allen during which the pair fell to the ground while competing for the catch.

Getzenberg reported that “Hamlin was slow to get up, with other defensive backs helping him. On the sideline, Hamlin threw his helmet to the ground in frustration and trainers looked at his right shoulder/arm area. Hamlin was able to fully return to the field.”

Hamlin went into cardiac arrest after making a tackle and appearing to be hit with a helmet in his chest during the first quarter of the Bills’ Monday Night Football game against the Cincinnati Bengals on January 2. CPR was performed on Hamlin when he lost his pulse and needed to be revived through resuscitation and defibrillation.

In April, Hamlin was cleared to resume football activities after it was determined that his cardiac arrest was caused by commotio cordis, which can occur when severe trauma to the chest disrupts the heart’s electrical charge and causes dangerous fibrillations.

The 25-year-old was cleared to resume football activities last month and said he has been planning to make a comeback to the NFL.

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