Eight months after Damar Hamlin went into cardiac arrest and collapsed on the field in Cincinnati, Ohio, he’s tackling a whole new field of play during Friday’s episode of Secret Celebrity Renovation.
The 25-year-old Buffalo Bills safety is wielding the sledgehammer for the Sept. 1 episode to surprise his grandmother with a home renovation at the heart of his original stomping grounds, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In ET’s special sneak peek of the upcoming episode, Hamlin takes ET’s own Nischelle Turner to Hays Manor, the housing projects where he grew up in McKees Rocks.
Hamlin’s return to his homestead is an emotional one, as many of his fans take the opportunity to show the NFL star their happiness at his good health. As many know all too well by now, back during the Jan. 2 AFC playoff game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Hamlin tackled Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins in the first quarter, and all seemed business as usual following the tackle. However, shortly thereafter, Hamlin stumbled and collapsed on the field, and he was swiftly attended to by medical personnel, who gave the athlete CPR on the field, which saved his life. He was placed on a stretcher, given oxygen and taken to the hospital via ambulance. It was later revealed that Hamlin went into cardiac arrest.
Hamlin spent the next several days in critical condition in intensive care at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center. A week after his collapse, he was transferred to a medical center in Buffalo, where he spent a few more days before being discharged “to continue his rehabilitation at home and with the Bills.”
“When you see how those kids light up when he walks around, how they just gravitate towards him and won’t let him go, it’s just life-affirming,” Turner says in the clip.
Hamlin made his triumphant return to the gridiron on Aug. 12, kicking off its preseason schedule in Orchard Park, New York against the visiting Indianapolis Colts. He made his first tackle in the first quarter and the crowd went nuts. He looked like he hadn’t skipped a beat, after making an impressive solo tackle in space. Then, midway through the first quarter, he made a critical tackle that forced the Colts to turn the ball over on downs.
And now, Hamlin is suiting up to gift his grandmother with the sweetest surprise — a home makeover she’d never expect! “It was an wonderful opportunity to shout out my love for my grandmother and to do something special for her,” the athlete shares.
Check out Hamlin’s emotional surprise for his grandmother when Secret Celebrity Renovation airs on Friday, Sept. 1 at 8 p.m. PT/ET on CBS and Paramount+.