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Damar Hamlin – The Need for Estate Planning

Damar Hamlin is 24 years old. 24! In the eyes of someone twice his age, he is a baby. Only three years older than my son.

Damar was a four-star recruit in high school.

As a parent who had a college football player, four-star recruits are at the top of their game.

Getting rated as a four-star athlete is nothing to sneeze at for anyone. Damar’s college prospects were impressive. He received offers from Penn State, Ohio State, Temple, and Pitt.

Damar played college football at Pitt. He was an All-Conference athlete and captain of his college football team.

Damar went in the sixth round in the NFL and was chosen by the Buffalo Bills. He signed a four-year rookie contract in May 2021 and was a starting safety for the Bills in 2022. His four-year contract included a $160,000+ signing bonus and garnered him $3,600,000 (and some change).

Damar was at the beginning of what appeared to be a promising career. He was successful on the football field and started a fashion line in his spare time.

But on the night of January 2, 2023, everything changed.

As most of the football-watching world knows, Damar collapsed after a hit during a Monday Night Football game.

According to reports, Damar suffered a cardiac arrest after what appeared to be a routine hit. Speculation is that the location and timing of the impact caused ventricular fibrillation. The hit disrupted Damar’s heart enough to cause his heart to stop.

The condition is rare. It usually occurs in male athletes who have suffered blunt-force trauma.

The fact that Damar was revived is a blessing due to the medical staff on hand during Monday night football. But would Damar survive if his cardiac arrest happened anywhere else?

Would he be revived if he were working in an accounting firm or getting takeout in a drive-through? The answer is probably not.

And still, it is unknown if Damar will survive. Does this lead to questions like:

  1. Who will take care of his business while he recovers from this horrible tragedy?
  2. What will happen to his family, business, assets, etc., if he doesn’t survive?
  3. Who decides about his medical care while he is on a ventilator?
  4. What about financial decisions?
  5. And what if he suffered a brain injury while suffering this cardiac event?
  6. What if he wakes up but isn’t the same?
  7. Who will take care of him for the rest of his life?
  8. How will decisions about his money, property, health, and other matters get made?

We can only hope that Damar had a plan for these decisions.

Nobody likes to think about the what-ifs and the rare circumstances. But in the case of Damar Hamlin, the rare occurrence, the what-if actually happened. And real decisions need to get made.

Many people in the coming weeks will criticize the NFL and speculate about Damar’s condition.

We hope that Damar recovers from this tragic and horrible set of events.

We also want people to pay attention to what happened to Damar. We hope others realize that even people at the top of their sport are not immune from tragedy.

Get an estate plan. Get a power of attorney. Make it known how you want to live your life if a tragedy happens.

Again, we all hope that Damar Hamlin survives this tragedy. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family during this time.

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