Bills safety Damar Hamlin had a week full of celebration in Arizona as he was recognized and honored several times during Super Bowl events.
It began on Thursday when Hamlin was named the NFLPA's Alan Page Community Award winner for his work in the community and his inspiring spirit. Hamlin received $100,000 to go toward his Chasing Ms foundation.
It continued with NFL Honors on Thursday night when Hamlin, Bills athletic training and medical staff and UC Health staff members were honored on stage during the program.
Hamlin thanked those who saved his life and those across the entire country who took time to pray for him.
"First, I would like to just thank God for even being here," Hamlin said. "Every day I am amazed that my experiences could encourage so many others across the country and even across the world--encourage to pray, encourage to spread love and encourage to keep fighting no matter the circumstances. Sudden cardiac arrest was nothing I would have ever chosen to be a part of my story, but that's because sometimes our own visions are too small even when we think we are seeing the bigger picture. My vision was about playing in the NFL and being the best player that I could be, but God's plan was to have a purpose greater than any game in this world.
"My entire life, I felt like God was using me to give others hope and now with a new set of circumstances I can only say he's doing what he's always done. I have a long journey ahead, a journey full of unknowns and a journey full of milestones, but it's a lot easier to face your fears when you know your purpose."
The moving speech brought everyone to their feet in that building on Thursday night. So many wiped away the tears from their eyes as they saw Hamlin on his feet looking healthy and full of life.
It didn't stop with NFL Honors. Hamlin, Bills athletic training and medical staff and UC Health staff members were honored and recognized on the field before the Super Bowl began. Hamlin was showered with hugs from those who helped him in his recovery process.
At the Super Bowl, Hamlin took pictures with stars like LeBron James and dapped up Eagles running back Miles Sanders who is a childhood friend.
Hamlin posted a picture from the field with a caption that read, "Ain't It A Blessing!?" It sure looked like a weekend full of blessings after making such an impressive recovery in such a short amount of time.
The safety also did an interview with Good Morning America’s Michael Strahan in Arizona that aired the morning after the Super Bowl. In the interview, Hamlin opened up the night he suffered cardiac arrest, his recovery and the road ahead.
Hamlin said he felt "super normal" going into that game against the Bengals and remembers the game plan.
"I remember the things that we were focused on going into the game," Hamlin told Strahan. "Just trying to get a win."
At this point we've all heard of the super talented Bills assistant athletic trainer Denny Kellington and the life-saving CPR he gave to Hamlin in a critical moment. Hamlin isn't done singing Kellington's praises.
"I owe Denny (Kellington) my life, literally," Hamlin said. "He loves to say he was just doing his job, which is true. That night he was literally the savior of my life administering CPR on me, that's something I'm truly thankful for and I don't take for granted."
Hamlin looked like he was healthy and in good spirits at the Super Bowl, and he says he's feeling that way too.
"I'm doing great," Hamlin said. "Every morning and every night I take 10 deep breaths to myself. And it puts everything in perspective for me."
When it comes to the emotions of that night and why this all happened to him, Hamlin explained he is still working through everything.
"I'm still trying to process all the emotions and the trauma that comes from dealing with a situation like that and not really having people around or no one in my immediate circle who's dealt with something like that," Hamlin shared.
The safety also shared he would like to play football again but isn't rushing anything.
"Eventually," Hamlin said when Strahan asked if he wanted to play football again. "That's always the goal, but I'm allowing that to be in God's hands."
Right now, Hamlin's focus is on his partnership with the American Heart Association and their goal to get three million people to learn CPR because he believes it's crucial for everyone to know.
"It really did save my life that night," Hamlin shared.