ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — Bills safety Damar Hamlin is active against the Miami Dolphins on Sunday, and set to appear in his first regular season game since having a near-death experience on the field at Cincinnati in early January.
Hamlin was a healthy scratch through the Bills first three games this season, and gets the nod with starting safety Jordan Poyer sidelined by a knee injury. Primary backup Taylor Rapp is expected to fill Poyer’s spot alongside Micah Hyde, with Hamlin serving as a backup in facing a high-octane Dolphins’ offense that leads the league in most every statistical category.
Appearing in a regular-season game marks the final step in Hamlin’s bid to resume his playing career in what’s been described as the 25-year-old’s remarkable recovery after going into cardiac arrest and needing to be resuscitated on the field during a game at Cincinnati on Jan. 2.
Since being cleared to resume playing in April, Hamlin has showed no signs of tentativeness in passing every on-field test he’s faced in making the Bills 53-player roster in August. He combined for nine tackles in appearing in all three of Buffalo’s preseason games in August.
Hamlin was starting in place of Hyde when he went into cardiac arrest after making what appeared to be a routine tackle in the first quarter against the Bengals.
His heart stopped as a result of commotio cordis, which happens when a direct blow at a specific point in a heartbeat causes cardiac arrest. Doctors have assured Hamlin he can resume playing without any fear of setbacks or reoccurrence.