Who are Damar Hamlin’s parents? His tough but focused upbringing

Damar Hamlin

The world prays for Damar Hamlin after the Buffalo Bills player suffered cardiac arrest during his team’s match against the Cincinnati Bengals. Following what seemed to be a routine tackle on Bengals wideout Tee Higgins, Hamlin stood up momentarily before collapsing. Medical staff rushed onto the field, where according to his uncle, Dorrian Glenn, they resuscitated him for the first time. 

Hamlin’s mom, Nina Hamlin, who was at the stadium, accompanied Damar to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, where he’s receiving treatment. The latest update by the Bills states that Hamlin is in critical condition in the facility’s ICU. 

Damar’s parents were teenagers when they had him in March 1998


Damar Hamlin was born on 24th March 1998 in McKees Rocks, Pennsylvania, to Nina and Mario Hamlin. Nina was 16, and Mario was 17 when they welcomed Damar. Damar told News 4 that he couldn’t imagine the difficulties his parents faced as teenage parents:

“It was probably so stressful but both of my parents had me young, at 16, and pretty much since that point they put everything they had into me to get me to where we are right now today.”

Damar said his parents taught him the value of hard work. “They taught me you gotta work for everything and basically they just taught me all of the lessons of life,” Damar revealed. He opined that having two supportive parents gave him an edge in life:

“I would just really give all that credit to my parents, that’s really like the biggest difference that I’ve seen in everyone’s lives that was around me growing up. Just that fact of having two parents in my life that were dedicated to me and all into me, every move from being little to growing up.”

For a long time, Damar was Nina and Mario’s only child. In 2015, they welcomed their second son, Damir, who aspires to play football in the NFL like his brother. 

Damar Hamlin maintained a close bond with his father after he was incarcerated

Damar Hamlin's fathher

Mario Hamlin sold drugs to make ends meet. He was busted for peddling drugs, serving 3.5 years in the slammer when Damar was young. 

Damar revealed that he maintained contact with his incarcerated father, who offered parental advice from prison. “It was tough, it was a real adjustment, really had to kind of grow up and figure life out on my own for a little bit not having a father figure in my life,” He said

Damar said his young parents kept him on the right path. “It really had nothing to do with me,” He said. “The only thing I had to do was just listen and that’s the type of kid I was.”

After Mario’s release, he and Nina founded an office cleaning business while Nina ran a daycare. On 22nd June 2022, Mario credited his parents for raising him into an upstanding person despite facing challenges. He wrote on Instagram:

“We weathered every storm from hell & back together as a family. Not ashamed of our story cause it made us who we are. Happy Father’s Day pops. You taught me a lot in life but something that will always stick with me is making sacrifices for the people you love. Whatever it takes For The Family.”

Damar’s parents are nervous but optimistic about his recovery

Since Hamlin was admitted, Nina and Mario have camped at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center. Jordon Rooney, the athlete’s spokesperson, told Entertainment Tonight that his parents are nervous but optimistic about his recovery. Rooney praised Nina and Mario for their enduring selflessness:

“His parents, they’re fighters. I mean, it’s one of the best support systems that anyone could have and honestly it shows why Damar is so strong-willed and caring. I mean, they’re looking out for everybody else. 

“They’re trying to help hospital staff and other people who are showing up. It’s just a testament to who they are.”

Jordan stated that the family is grateful for the overwhelming support they have received following the tragedy. “To have many people unite around this challenging time for them, I think it makes a difference,” Rooney said. “They’re just in disbelief. They’re just like, ‘Wow, this is amazing. I can’t believe how good these people are to us.”

On 3rd January 2022, the family released a statement thanking people for their prayers, kind words, and donations. The statement continued:

“We also want to acknowledge the dedicated first responders and healthcare professionals at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center who have provided exceptional care to Damar. We feel so blessed to be part of the Buffalo Bills organization and to have their support. We also want to thank Coach Taylor and the Bengals for everything they’ve done.”

Hamlin’s family promises to provide updates on Hamlin’s condition as the situation develops.