Damar Hamlin named Week 18 Community MVP by NFLPA

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Damar Hamlin named Week 18 Community MVP by NFLPA originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin received a well-deserved title on Friday morning – Community MVP.

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That news came after it was revealed earlier Friday that Hamlin had his breathing tube removed and spoke with his teammates on FaceTime.

Each week during the regular season the NFL Players Association honors one athlete who has given back to his hometown or community, and this week, Hamlin inevitably took the cake.

It was inevitable not because of Hamlin’s tragic injury that left him in critical condition for days at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, but rather because of his character. When the 24-year-old woke up from being unconscious for days, the first thing he asked was whether he and his team won the game.

His love and adoration for his fellow Buffalo teammates is one thing, but what about the person he is and always has been before Monday night’s injury?

Hamlin has always been an asset to his community. Growing up in Pittsburgh, Penn., he valued giving back and paying it forward, especially to children. 

The football star created a GoFundMe charity, The Chasing M’s Foundation Toy Drive, which received over $7.5 million dollars in donations since his initial collapse on Monday.

“As I embark on my journey to the NFL, I will never forget where I come from and I am committed to using my platform to positively impact the community that raised me,” Hamlin said on his GoFundMe page when it was first posted.

“I created The Chasing M's Foundation as a vehicle that will allow me to deliver that impact, and the first program is the 2020 Community Toy Drive. This campaign gives you the opportunity to contribute to our first initiative and positively impact children who have been hardest hit by the pandemic.”

While the fundraiser was initially solely aimed at helping the community at large, the charity evolved into something bigger – a support system for the recovery of Hamlin since Monday night’s tragedy.

When the NFLPA names a Community MVP, the association donates $10,000 to the charity of the winner’s choice so that players can continue to make the difference they strive to make.

So, for Hamlin, this will most likely go toward his holiday toy drive.

On Monday, Dec. 2, during a Bills-Bengals Week 17 showdown, Bills safety Hamlin fell into cardiac arrest after tackling Tee Higgins. His heart stopped, CPR was performed and the athlete was quickly taken to a nearby hospital where he received – and is still receiving – treatment.

The latest update is that Hamlin has woken up and spoken to all his teammates via FaceTime.