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Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin, who went into cardiac arrest after being hit during a Monday Night Football game in 2022, was welcomed to the White House Thursday by President Joe Biden.
Hamlin’s heartbeat was restored on the field after he collapsed during a game at Cincinnati on January 2. He was rushed to hospital by ambulance in critical condition, but awoke four days later and began breathing on his own.
Hamlin advocates for CPR beyond the field
Since then, Damar Hamlin has started campaigning to put CPR equipment in schools to boost chances of lives being saved.
“I want to thank everybody for the love and support over these past few weeks,” Hamlin said in his first video in recovery from cardiac arrest. “As you know, CPR saved my life earlier this year on the field and CPR could easily save your life or someone you love.”
“The President thanked Damar for his courage, resilience, and can-do spirit which has inspired the American people,” a White House statement said.
According to a statement from the White House, the conversation between the two included Biden “thanking Damar for his courage, resilience, and can-do spirit which has inspired the American people.” Biden also commended Hamlin for his efforts, including through legislation, “to bring people together and making life-saving technologies more widely available.”
On Wednesday, Hamlin met with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Rep. Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick to help promote the bipartisan legislation Access to AEDs, which would increase the availability of automated external defibrillators, and related training, on school campuses.
Hamlin earlier said on Twitter that he wanted his story to help American young people in high schools, colleges and universities.
According to ESPN, the NFL on Monday announced the launch of the Smart Heart Sports Coalition, a collaboration with several groups to advocate for policies in all 50 states aimed at preventing fatal outcomes from sudden cardiac arrest among high school athletes.
The goal of the coalition is to pass legislation at the state level and implement these policies within the next three years, and the group sent letters to governors of 43 states where it believes additional policies are needed.
Hamlin’s doctor has said that he will play again.