Highly-ranked women’s tennis star Jessica Pegula spoke in an open letter about her mother, Kim, who owns the Bills, and Damar Hamlin’s health.
Damar Hamlin’s public health scare in which he suffered cardiac arrest on national television during a game between the Buffalo Bills and Cincinnati Bengals was seen and followed by all of America. Even non-NFL fans were checking in on his recovery frequently.
What plenty of fans outside of Buffalo circles may not have known is that Hamlin wasn’t the first member of the Bills family to suffer from a heart health scare in the last year or so. Team co-owner Kim Pegula suffered cardiac arrest over the summer.
Jessica Pegula, daughter of Bills owners Kim and Terry Pegula, recently penned an open letter in The Players’ Tribune talking about her mother’s recovery and the impact on her tennis career.
Bills ownership knew exactly what Damar Hamlin was going through
In her letter, Jessica talked about how the experience with her mother’s incident immediately had her thinking of Hamlin’s family, and how she knew exactly the biggest factor: Time. Seconds, minutes of time.
"“Again, I usually don’t get too much anxiety, but the thought of what Damar and his family were about to go through hurt my heart. I knew how important time was. I just kept thinking time, time, time, time. I hope they got him back and quick enough. The medical staff and trainers who assisted that night really saved his life and were tremendous in his recovery.”"
In the letter, Jessica spoke about how once the heart issue for Kim had been fixed, the primary concern for the family and doctors was brain trauma. Even small amounts of time when the brain doesn’t get oxygen can be incredibly damaging and potentially irreparable.
She knew time, even seconds, were precious for Hamlin because of her experience.
Luckily, the Bills medical staff was on its A-game and delivered CPR to Hamlin as quickly as humanly possible. That immediate action has been thought to be one of the primary things that saved Hamlin’s life, and the doctors at the hospital where the early stages of his recovery took place praised the team for their swift action.
Jessica Pegula thought about having to put her playing career on hold
Pegula has peaked at No. 3 in the world this year. That might not have been possible if she didn’t go on to play in Wimbledon as her mom was recovering, something her father and co-owner of the Bills, Terry, wasn’t sure he wanted her to do, but that Jessica did because her mother wanted it.
It had to be a tremendously hard decision for Pegula to make.
Jess made it to the quarterfinals in three of the four major tournaments in 2022 and reached the quarterfinals in Australia to kick off 2023.
Kim is continuing to recover, but the family and doctors around her are still unsure of exactly how far she still has left to go.
"“My mom is working hard in her recovery, she is improving, but where she ends up is still unknown. Luckily, we have some amazing people around us who have been crucial in helping her and without them I am not sure where our family would be.”"
Hamlin, too, is still on his road to recovery.