Who Is Damar Hamlin? Devout Christian Who Says Family Comes First

"My faith is in God. So whatever He has planned for me, that'll be it."
Damar Hamlin #3 of the Buffalo Bills after a game against the Tennessee Titans at Highmark Stadium on September 19, 2022 in Orchard Park, New York.
Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images

Buffalo Bills player Damar Hamlin, 24, shockingly suffered cardiac arrest during an NFL game against the Cincinnati Bengals on Monday night.

Hamlin, a devout Christian who attended a Catholic high school, is currently receiving medical care at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, where he’s been sedated and remains in critical condition, according to the latest updates.

Here’s what we know about the athlete’s faith and family.

Hamlin attended Central Catholic High School in Pittsburgh, and was unsurprisingly a standout on the school’s football team. He was reportedly team captain and a heavily recruited all-state team member, winning awards like being named the division’s defensive player of the year. 

“Central Catholic High School is praying for the well being and swift recovery of Damar Hamlin, ‘16,” the school’s Twitter account posted Monday night. 

“May the Lord be with him and his family during this most difficult time. Hamlin collapsed during the Monday Night Football game against the @Bengals on 1-02-23,” the school added.

After high school, Hamlin decided on attending the University of Pittsburgh so he could remain close to his family.

It’s said that he had his choice of any school, but “wanted locals to be proud of Pittsburgh,” college football writer Thor Nystrum said.

During his college years, the athlete reportedly opened up about his faith, stating, “My faith is in God. So whatever He has planned for me, that’ll be it.”

The football star’s family, particularly his mother Nina, seem to be very important to Hamlin.

Nina was at the game Monday when her son suddenly collapsed on the field. The ambulance took off to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center after Nina was rushed from the stands to be by her son’s side.

Hamlin was born to Nina and father Mario Hamlin in 1998, when the pair were reportedly just 16 years old. Mario reportedly served more than three years behind bars in connection to drug dealing while Hamlin was still young.

“I’m extremely close to my family,” Hamlin told News 4 back in 2021. “My mom, she was sixteen when she had me and I just try to think about when I was sixteen years old and I just couldn’t imagine having a little boy.”

“It was probably so stressful but both of my parents had me young, at sixteen and pretty much since that point they put everything they had into me to get me to where we are right now today,” he explained.

“It was us at first, just me and my mom and my dad and they taught me hard work. They taught me you gotta work for everything you and basically they just taught me all of the lessons of life,” Hamlin added.

In another interview clip, shared by FOX Sports reporter Henry McKenna, Hamlin similarly gushed over his family.

“My mom, my dad, my little brother, like that’s pretty much my whole world, outside of any other thing going on; my life revolves around them,” he said. “I don’t really do too much without my mom and dad’s opinion. Whether I take it or whether I don’t … sometimes I just want to hear it.”

Hamlin’s little brother is reportedly seven years old.

Video from a game in November shows Hamlin hugging his mother during the pregame warmup.

Notably, a GoFundMe started by Hamlin blew up online following the tragic injury. The athlete sought in 2020 to reach a goal of $2,500 to help kids in his community through his Chasing M Foundation. As of Tuesday, more than $4 million has been fundraised.

The family of Hamlin on Tuesday released a statement thanking fans and both teams for their support and prayers.

Related: ‘A Really Personal Thing For Me’: An Emotional Mike Tomlin Reacts To Damar Hamlin Collapse

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