Immediately after hearing that Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin collapsed on the field during Monday night’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Hamlin’s former teammate raced to help.
Hamlin remains in critical condition after he was given CPR and resuscitated at least once after collapsing. On Wednesday, Jordon Rooney, Hamlin’s marketing representative, told The Associated Press that Hamlin’s recovery was moving in “a positive direction” and that he remains in the intensive care unit at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center.
Minnesota Vikings defensive tackle Harrison Phillips played alongside Hamlin for the Bills during the 2021 season. Phillips told reporters that he heard about Hamlin’s cardiac arrest while he was attending the Timberwolves game with a teammate and their fiancées, according to vikings.com.
“We left the game early and I was just refreshing Twitter every second, reading every tweet out there, just waiting to hear what’s going on and what could happen,” Phillips said. “I sent out a bunch of text messages to almost all my (former) teammates. For all the teammates that were rallied around them there, it was a very hard scene to see. You can try to picture it as best you can, but it was a very hard scene. So I’ve obviously been praying. I got on my hands and knees, praying and trying to figure out, ‘What can you do?’”
Phillips wanted to support the people who are helping Hamlin and reached out to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center to say he wanted to buy dinner for Hamlin’s family, Bills support staff, and all of the doctors, nurses and staff in the intensive care unit, The Buffalo News reported. Phillips arranged for a sandwich shop to cater food for approximately 50 people at the hospital on Tuesday, and did the same on Wednesday with a buffet from Chipotle, according to the newspaper.
“I just wanted to donate food for them so they don’t have to worry about any of that,” Phillips told KMSP.
After donating to Hamlin’s charity, Phillips created his own fundraiser for his former teammate. Through his Playmakers foundation, Phillips is collecting donations for a future event to “pay it forward” in Hamlin’s honor.
“The children I work with have bigger hearts than any of us, and they wanted to find ways to help out, too,” Phillips said, according to The Buffalo News. “It’ll hopefully be a celebration of his life and his recovery in the months to come.”
Phillips said that while he and Hamlin played together, Hamlin volunteered at events with the Playmakers foundation, vikings.com reported.
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