‘He really needs our prayers right now:’ Church service held for Damar Hamlin

The 24-year-old is in critical condition at UC Medical Center.
Cincinnati coming together to support Damar Hamlin
Published: Jan. 3, 2023 at 5:47 PM EST
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CINCINNATI (WXIX) - The outpouring of support for Damar Hamlin was renewed Tuesday near the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, where the 24-year-old Buffalo Bills safety remains in critical condition.

Community members gathered at Crossroads Church in Cincinnati’s uptown neighborhood, just a mile from Hamlin’s hospital room, for a prayer service.

Church leaders sent word of the service around 8 a.m. Tuesday morning, fewer than 12 hours after Hamlin’s cardiac arrest on the field at Paycor Stadium. Four hours later, the noontime service began with dozens of people in attendance and hundreds more watching on the church’s livestream.

Bengals kicker Evan McPherson began the service with a recorded message asking those in attendance to pray for the 24-year-old.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with Damar Hamlin and his family and everybody that was involved,” McPherson said. “We just want to take this second to realize that Damar is more than just a football player. He’s a son. He’s a teammate. He’s a friend. And last but not least, he’s a brother in Christ. He really needs our prayers right now.”

Dan Deering, a Wyoming football coach, attended the prayer service.

“Football isn’t about winning, it’s a family,” Deering told our media partners at the Enquirer. “I see Damar in my kids. We’ve gone through loss, and I had to be here.”

Senior pastor Brian Tome put the service together mindful of the widespread and unspoken trauma an incident like this can cause—when something so reliably joyful as a sporting event transforms in the blink of an eye into something terrifying.

“I think why we want to pray for this and come together is, we recognize we’re all in this thing called life together,” he said. “Curveballs are thrown our way all the time, pain points are thrown our way all the time, and I think in our heart we all want to be in that same game together. And maybe that’s one positive thing that came out of this.”

A prayer vigil will be held outside UC Medical Center Tuesday night shortly before 9 p.m.


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