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ESPN host prays on the air for the health of Damar Hamlin

J-P Mauro - published on 01/06/23

Damar Hamlin's condition has improved, but doctors remain cautious.

An ESPN analyst paused mid-broadcast to pray for the health of the Buffalo Bills’ safety Damar Hamlin, whose condition has improved. Hamlin collapsed on the field and required resuscitation after a hard hit to the chest during a Monday night game between the Buffalo Bills and the Cincinnati Bengals.

Former NFL quarterback turned broadcaster Dan Orlovsky was in the midst of a discussion on Hamlin’s near fatal injury when he took a moment on air to pray for the player. Orlovsky began by stating that he has heard many people send their “thoughts and prayers” to the Hamlin family, but he felt it was right to speak them out loud.

“I’ve heard it all day, like ‘Thoughts and prayers.’ You just heard Jonathan Allen say ‘All we can do is pray for him,’ and I heard the Buffalo Bills organization say that they believe in prayer and maybe this is not the right thing to do, but it’s on my heart that I want to pray for Damar Hamlin right now. I’m gonna do it out loud, I’m gonna close my eyes, I’m gonna bow my head and I’m just gonna pray for him.”

There was a nice little moment when Orlovsky noted that he wasn’t sure if it’s the “right thing to do.” His fellow host Marcus Spears – a 9-year NFL veteran who played defensive end for the Cowboys and the Ravens – interjected, “Yes, it is.” After a moment to compose himself, Orlovsky began to pray:

“God, we come to you in these moments that we don’t understand, that are hard, because we believe that you’re God and coming to and praying to you has impact. We’re sad, we’re angry, and we want answers, but some things are unanswerable. We just want to pray, truly come to you and pray for strength for Damar, for healing for Damar, for comfort for Damar, to be with his family, to give them peace. If we didn’t believe that prayer didn’t [sic] work we wouldn’t ask this of you, God. I believe in prayer. We believe in prayer. We lift up Damar Hamlin’s name in your name. Amen.”

Damar Hamlin

Hamlin collapsed and was found to have entered cardiac arrest after he sustained a hard helmet-to-chest hit. His heartbeat was restored by emergency personnel, but he was rushed to the hospital for further treatment.

According to CNN, in the days since the Monday night game, Hamlin’s condition has improved. He has regained consciousness and remains on a ventilator. While the ventilator prevents him from speaking, he can communicate by writing. His first question when he awoke was “Did we win?” The game, however, was suspended after his brush with death, and it does not appear that the NFL will seek to resume it at a later date.

The doctors seem confident that Hamlin will recover, but they have noted that he is not out of the woods yet. While they have described his improvement as “substantial,” Hamlin will remain on a ventilator until he no longer needs assistance breathing.

Visit CNN for live updates on Damar Hamlin’s condition.

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