HomeSportsNFLColts’ Rodney Thomas II Drove Over 100 Miles to Visit High School Teammate Damar Hamlin in ICU

Colts’ Rodney Thomas II Drove Over 100 Miles to Visit High School Teammate Damar Hamlin in ICU

by Nick Geddes
Rodney Thomas II
(Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)

Indianapolis Colts safety Rodney Thomas II didn’t know what had happened to his friend, Damar Hamlin until his dad FaceTimed him Monday night.

Thomas had the Cincinnati Bengals-Buffalo Bills game on but wasn’t present in front of the TV at one point during the first quarter. While Thomas was away, Hamlin suffered a cardiac arrest on the field after making a tackle on Bengals receiver Tee Higgins. Thomas watched the terrifying event unfold before making a quick decision. In those moments as medical personnel administered CPR to Hamlin, Thomas decided he was going to make the 100-mile plus trip from Indianapolis to Cincinnati to be there for his friend.

“I had a goal,” Thomas said Wednesday, via “I knew where I was going, so I just got on the road and I just went. Laser-focused.”

Thomas and Hamlin grew up in the Pittsburgh area, both attending Central Catholic High School. The two were teammates and to this day, communicate daily, speaking with one another ahead of the “Monday Night Football” matchup. Thomas arrived at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center to find Hamlin sedated and intubated in the ICU. It was there that Thomas held Hamlin’s hand and spoke to him again.

“I know he could hear me,” Thomas said. “Even if he couldn’t hear me, it didn’t matter. I said what I had to say.”

Rodney Thomas Looking Forward to Seeing Damar Hamlin Walk Out of ICU

Support for Hamlin has come from both inside and outside the NFL community. As of Thursday, The Chasing M’s Foundation Community Toy Drive, a fundraiser started by Hamlin, has received more than $7 million in donations. Among the significant contributors was Indianapolis Colts owner and CEO Jim Irsay, who donated $25,003 Wednesday.

“He’s just the most genuine person you could come across,” Thomas said. “No hidden motives, no nothing — he just wants to see the people that care about him succeed, and the people that don’t care about him, he wants to see them succeed. He’s just that type of guy and he lives his life like that.

“… If you go back home, everybody knows Damar. Everybody will say the same thing about Damar — everybody will say the same thing about his character, his work ethic, his hard work, his giving. You’ll hear nothing but positive things following his name.”