Damar Hamlin flexed for Buffalo Bills teammates and told them he loves them from his hospital bed in Cincinnati as he continues to improve following his on-field cardiac arrest against the Bengals on Monday. Since being resuscitated on the field, Hamlin had his breathing tube removed Thursday, allowing him to speak after
Damar Hamlin’s breathing tube has been removed in the latest sign of improvement from the Buffalo Bills safety after he was resuscitated on the field in Cincinnati on Monday night following his cardiac arrest.
Hamlin started communicating to doctors in writing on Wednesday, but had been prevented from speaking due to his breathing tube. With that removed, the 24-year-old has begun talking with teammates in Orchard Park, New York from the University of Cincinnati Medical Center.
‘Per the physicians at UCMC, Damar’s breathing tube was removed overnight,’ read a team statement on Friday. ‘He continues to progress remarkably in his recovery. His neurologic function remains intact and he has been able to talk to his family and care team.’
The team went on to say that he’s been in touch with teammates: ‘Damar Hamlin FaceTimed into our team meeting today to talk to players and coaches. What he said to the team: ”Love you boys.”’
Damar Hamlin ‘s breathing tube has been removed in the latest sign of improvement from the Buffalo Bills safety after he was resuscitated on the field in Cincinnati on Monday night after suffering a cardiac arrest
‘We were able to put him on the big screen, so he was larger than life for us,’ Bills coach Sean McDermott told reporters at Friday’s press conference.
Hamlin made a ‘heart’ symbol with his hands, offered a ‘thumbs up’ sign, and even flexed for teammates, McDermott said.
‘It makes me laugh,’ McDermott said. ‘He flexed on them.’
McDermott said the team is considering ways to honor the first responders, whom he credits for helping to save Hamlin’s life on Sunday.
The Bills’ update followed an earlier report from The Athletic’s Shams Charania.
‘A blessing,’ Charania’s tweet began. ‘The breathing tube is out of Damar Hamlin as of this morning and he has begun talking to Buffalo Bills teammates again. Hamlin has had a breathing tube in body through his throat since Monday night, but no longer needs it and can breathe fully on his own.’
On Thursday, doctors said Hamlin has made ‘substantial improvement.’
‘He is beginning to awaken and it appears his neurological condition and function is intact,’ said UC College of Medicine’s Dr. Timothy Pritts in a video press conference.
Hamlin had been sedated following his on-field resuscitation on Monday, but began communicating with doctors in writing Wednesday.
He even asked doctors who won Monday’s game, which was postponed and later canceled after he collapsed in the first quarter.
‘Our response was: Damar, you won,’ Pritts told reporters. ‘You won the game of life.’
Hamlin started communicating to doctors in writing on Wednesday, but had been prevented from speaking due to his breathing tube. With that removed, the 24-year-old has begun talking with teammates from the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, reports The Athletic’s Shams Charania
Both Pritts and University of Cincinnati’s Dr. William Knight said the speed of medics’ response to Hamlin’s collapse on Monday was critical in saving the Pittsburgh native’s life.
Physicians were by Hamlin’s side within a minute of his collapse and immediately realized that he did not have a pulse.
‘There are injuries that happen in sports, but it’s rare to have something [that] incredibly serious [that quickly],’ Pritts said. ‘We cannot credit [the Bills medical] team enough.’
‘It’s been a long and difficult road for the last three days,’ Knight said. ‘[Hamlin] has made a pretty remarkable improvement.’
Knight said Thursday that he had no idea when Hamlin’s breathing tube would be removed.
‘Every patient is different,’ Knight told reporters. ‘When patients’ families ask, how long are they going to be on a ventilator, in the ICU, [we’ll say], as long as it takes.’
The public learned the answer to that on Friday when Hamlin’s breathing tube was removed.
Hamlin, 24, collapsed in the opening quarter of Monday Night Football at Paycor Stadium, playing for the Buffalo Bills against the Cincinnati Bengals
The good news comes as the 12-3 Bills are preparing to host the New England Patriots on Sunday. Buffalo still has a chance to wrestle the top seed in the AFC playoffs away from the 13-3 Kansas City Chiefs, but those odds have been complicated by the NFL’s decision to cancel the remainder of Monday’s game.
The league is still figuring out how to determine playoff seedings and scheduling, with a meeting between league owners scheduled for Friday. The NFL Players Association must approve changes.
NFL owners will meet Friday to discuss the league’s proposal to potentially play the AFC Championship at a neutral site.
Specifically, the league needs to decide where the AFC title game would be played should the Bills and Kansas City Chiefs both advance that far in the playoffs. If both teams win, lose or tie in Week 18, they’ll be separated by mere percentage points in the standings, presenting the league with some difficult decisions.
In a press conference on Thursday, Bills coach Sean McDermott shared details of a video call Hamlin’s parents, Mario and Nina, both of whom encouraged Buffalo players to suit up for the season finale.
As Mario explained to Bills players, Damar would have wanted them to play Sunday.