Damar Hamlin starts to wake up, moving her hands and feet, doctors say
Buffalo Bills security Damar Hamlin is starting to wake up as he shows “significant improvement” in his recovery from cardiac arrest and collapsing on the field during Monday’s game, doctors at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center said Thursday.
One of the doctors, Timothy Pritts, said that Hamlin is still considered critically ill and that significant progress is needed. Hamlin’s neurological condition appears to be intact, Pritts said.
Hamlin, 24, is able to move his hands and feet, doctors said. Unable to speak but was able to communicate in writing, Pritts said. Hamlin asked after the Bills won against Monday’s game Cincinnati Bengals — the contest was postponed after his fall.
“The answer is yes, Damar, you won. You won the game of life,” Pritts said.
Asking about the match was a sign to the doctors that “it’s not the lights, but it’s home” and it was an encouraging sign.
Hamlin was given CPR Monday night after collapsing on the field for several minutes and tackling the Bengals wide receiver. Tee Higgins. Hamlin received oxygen, according to ESPN’s broadcast, as he was loaded into an ambulance and taken off the field. He was taken to the hospital, where he remains.
Dr. William Knight IV credited the quick medical response with saving Hamlin’s life. He said a doctor was at Hamlin’s side within a minute of him collapsing and the defensive back admitted he had no pulse. Knight said Hamlin required CPR and resuscitation on the field.
There are no definitive answers as to what caused Hamlin’s cardiac arrest.
“It’s been a long, hard road the last three days,” Knight said. “… He’s made a pretty significant improvement.”
Pritts said neurological signs of improvement began Wednesday night as Hamlin gradually woke up as the rest of his body healed. Doctors said it’s too early to tell how Hamlin is doing emotionally, in part because he’s still on a ventilator. Doctors have also not fully assessed his speech and other functions, partly because he is under sedation to adjust his breathing tube.
“When we’re talking neurologically intact, it’s a very crude term for gross motor movements and following commands,” Knight said. “When we talk about the finer things that make us human — cognition, emotion, speech, language, etc. — we hope to learn more about that soon.”
For Hamlin to be upgraded from critical to stable condition, he will need to be removed from a breathing tube and show improved neurological and respiratory function, doctors said. Then they would like to take it home and see possible steps for the future.
It’s too early to say if Hamlin can return to football after undergoing rehab, Knight said.
Hamlin’s father, Mario, addressed the Bills on a Zoom call Wednesday to provide an update on his son, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Mario Hamlin informed the Bills that Damar Hamlin was making progress and, in the words of a source, “the team needed him.”
Mario Hamlin released a statement Thursday through family friend Jordon Rooney thanking Hamlin and his Chasing M’s foundation for their support, which has raised more than $7.3 million on GoFundMe. Mario Hamlin, as the foundation’s executive director, asked for more donations to be sent to the Chasing M website. She also asked for first responders to send donations to the trauma center at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center or buy lunch from first responders and trauma centers for the care her son received.
The NFL announced the Bills-Bengals game on Tuesday it won’t start again this week, and the league is undecided on whether to play the game later. The NFL has made no changes to the Week 18 regular season schedule.
The Bills began the week of practice Wednesday with a walk-through and team meetings in preparation for the tournament. New England Patriots on sunday They hope to have their first full practice of the week on Thursday.
They made a roster transaction to help the safety group that will be without Hamlin, signing him Jared Mayden outside New York Jets‘ practice squad and releasing veteran corners Xavier Rhodes. Mayden was on the Bills’ practice squad earlier this season.
ESPN’s Alaina Getzenberg and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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