BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — As soon as the Bills schedule was released, this Sunday night’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals stood out. The Bills are returning to Paycor Stadium for the first time since Damar Hamlin went into cardiac arrest.
The last time the Bills played a game in Cincinnati, it ended in shock and terror after just nine minutes. Now, the Bills are returning ready to celebrate Hamlin’s remarkable recovery.
“I think what his actions are is what you’d call inspirational because he didn’t just give back to the health system that responded, he’s giving back to the country,” Dr. Saad Ahmad, interventional and heart failure cardiologist at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, said.
Ten months after an unimaginable injury, Hamlin and the Bills will play under the bright, primetime lights in southwest Ohio. The team at the UC Medical Center will be keeping a close eye on the safety and maybe even cheering for his team. Dr. B. Woods Curry is on the game day medical assistants team and was apart of the crew that immediately helped Hamlin on the field on Jan. 2. He will have a very similar view on Sunday as the emergency response physician on the Bills sideline.
“I’m just super excited to see the two teams who are both fantastic teams the have a really fun rivalry I think that was only made stronger by going through this together,” Dr. Curry said.
Dr. Saad Ahmad and Kylee Ham, a nurse in the shock resuscitation unit, were on Hamlin’s critical care team at UC Health. They say his recovery is remarkable, but his work off the football field promoting AED and CPR training has made them the proudest.
“What he’s done is given everybody a podium with his celebrity status and what happened to him with the world watching. He’s used this to create awareness that I don’t think we would’ve been able to do without him,” Dr. Ahmad said.
“He’s definitely a big part of the Cincinnati family now, and the Bengals and the UC Health team. I think its going to be super fun to watch,” Ham said.
The UC Medical staff says they’re typically Bengals fans, but they are planning to watch Sunday’s matchup with a full heart, cheering for both sides.
“I’m rooting for a very safe football game where I don’t have to go out on the field at all,” Dr. Curry added.
“Patient-doctor relationships are special, so we’ll have to honor that,” Dr. Ahmad joked.
“It’s hard not to root for him just after everything that’s happened,” Ham said.
The medical team wouldn’t give any score prediction for this weekend, but they did say they plan to meet up with Hamlin while he is in Cincinnati, which is sure to be an exciting reunion.
Tara Lynch is a Buffalo native and Emmy-nominated reporter who joined the News 4 team in 2022. She previously worked at WETM in Elmira, N.Y., a sister station of News 4. You can follow Tara on Facebook and Twitter and find more of her work here.