When Damar Hamlin was a senior at the University of Pittsburgh, he had the idea to give back to his hometown near Pittsburgh, McKee’s Rocks, Pennsylvania. Hamlin launched a community toy drive fundraiser in December 2020 as soon as he finished playing for his college.

“As I embark on my journey to the NFL, I will never forget where I come from. I am committed to using my platform to make a positive impact on the community that raised me,” Hamlin said at the time. was writing He explained that toys will be distributed at a day care center run by his mother, Nina.

“Thank you so much for supporting me on and off the field,” Hamlin wrote, months before the Buffalo Bills selected him in the sixth round of the 2021 NFL Draft.

The still-active GoFundMe page became a way for thousands of people across the country to show their support for Hamlin after Hamlin collapsed on the field Monday night during the national televised coverage of the Bills and Cincinnati Bengals. In the first quarter of the game, Hamlin appeared to take blows to the chest and head when he tackled Cincinnati receiver Tea Higgins. Hamlin got to his feet after the hit, but he fell backwards on the grass, his body limp.

An NFL statement announcing the postponement said Hamlin was in critical condition after being taken to a hospital in Cincinnati.

Hamlin, 24, played the role of starting safety for the Bills in September after Micah Hyde suffered a season-ending neck injury. He played a central role in Pitt’s defense and led the team in tackles and pass breakups during the 2020 senior season.

Hamlin attended Pittsburgh’s Central Catholic High School, was recognized as one of the best players in the state, and helped lead his team to a championship in the competitive Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League. He chose to join Pitt in order to stay close to his family, including his younger brother who was an infant at the time. “I wanted to give him someone he could grow up with and model himself as a role model in his life,” Hamlin told reporters.

Hamlin’s first job was in the family’s cleaning business at the age of 12.

Her mother, Nina, was reportedly at a game in Cincinnati and went to the hospital with her son. Within hours of Hamlin being rushed to the hospital, his GoFundMe page, which Hamlin launched two years before him, had raised over $3 million for him.

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