The Doctor: Bill’s safety. Damar Hamlin woke up and was asked if they won the game via a written note

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ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin has shown what doctors are calling “great improvement over the last 24 hours,” the team announced Thursday, three days after the player his heart stopped and he had to be resuscitated on the field.

“Although he is still in critical condition, he has demonstrated that he appears to be neurologically intact,” Bill said in a statement. “His lungs continue to heal and he is making steady progress.”

Hamlin’s agent, Ronald Butler, told The Associated Press that Hamlin was awake and was able to grab the hands of family members at his hospital bedside.

The events came as the Bills were scheduled to return to practice Thursday for the first time since then Hamlin collapsed when his heart stopped after making a tackle and was rushed to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center during the first quarter of Buffalo’s game against the Bengals on Monday night. The second-year player spent the last two days sedated and was in critical condition.

Dr. Timothy Pritts said in a conference call that there were neurological signs of improvement Wednesday night as Hamlin gradually woke up and the rest of his body recovered. Hamlin could communicate in writing; he can’t speak because of the breathing tube in his throat.

“He was able to go out and execute commands last night and even asked who won the game,” Pritts said.

Play was suspended after Hamlin collapsed, and it’s unclear when or if it will resume.

“The answer is yes, Damar, you’ve won the game of your life,” Pritts said.

Dr. William Knight credited the quick medical response with saving Hamlin’s life.

He said a doctor was by Hamlin’s side a minute after he collapsed and noticed the defensive back had no pulse. Knight said Hamlin required CPR and CPR on the field.

“It’s been a long, hard road over the last three days … he’s made some pretty noticeable improvements,” Knight said.

The good news comes as the Bills prepare for a home game against the New England Patriots and the team is still reeling from the shock of their teammate collapsing on the field.

Patriots coach Bill Belichick called the news about Hamlin’s health encouraging.

“Life is bigger than this game. And I think it’s one of those humbling moments for all of us,” Belichick said.

As for how his players are doing with the preparations for the game scheduled for Sunday, he said that they are now figuring things out.

“I think we’re all doing the best we can,” Belichick said. “All these issues are beyond our control. I won’t worry about any of that. We try to control what we can control. Here’s what we do here and how we do it. And we’re doing everything we can.”

After returning home Tuesday morning after the game was suspended, the Bills held meetings and practice without the media on Wednesday. Players were seen arriving at the facility on Thursday, although the team has yet to release a practice schedule.

Scores of players around the league — former teammates and those who didn’t know Hamlin until Monday — expressed their support, saying they were shocked by what was happening in front of a North American television audience.

Colts safety Rodney Thomas made the two-hour drive from Indianapolis to Cincinnati on Tuesday to be near his former high school teammate.

“He is a fighter. I know he’s a fighter and there’s no other thought in my mind other than he’s going to walk away under his own power,” Thomas said Wednesday.

Minnesota Vikings linebacker Harrison Phillips, who spent the previous four seasons with Buffalo, delivered lunch to the hospital for Hamlin’s family and medical staff.

Hamlin’s marketing representative, Jordan Rooney, said Wednesday that the player’s family has been supported by words and acts of kindness.

“They’re excited right now,” Rooney said. “The house is still their first concern. But for them, they are always looking for ways to turn a troubling situation into a good one. The bounce back from this for him and his family is going to be incredible.”

It remained unclear will the NFL move the Bills vs. Bengals game, which has major implications for determining first place in the AFC. The playoffs will open on January 14.

The Chiefs (13-3) hold a half-game lead over Buffalo (12-3) and the Bills own the tiebreaker after beating Kansas City this season. The Bengals (11-4) are currently the third seed and also beat the Chiefs.

Hamlin was injured in the first quarter when he was hit squarely in the chest while making what appeared to be a routine tackle Bengals receiver Tee Higgins. Hamlin stood up briefly and adjusted his mask before collapsing back.

Hamlin was selected by Buffalo in the sixth round of the 2021 draft out of Pitt. He spent his rookie season limited to special teams roles and took over the starting safety job in Week 3 in place of veteran Mickey Hyde, who remains sidelined with a neck injury.

Fans, team owners and players — including Tom Brady and Russell Wilson — did donations to Hamlin’s Chasing M’s Foundationwhich had raised more than $7 million by Thursday morning.

Bills cornerback Kair Elam tweeted, “Our boy is doing better, he’s awake and showing more signs of improvement. Thank God. Please keep praying. Everyone loves 3!”

Original:

CINCINNATI, OH – Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin is reportedly “neurologically intact” after going into cardiac arrest on the field during Monday night’s Bills-Bengals game.

Bill tweeted this morning, saying in part: “Still critically ill, [Hamlin] demonstrated that he appears to be neurologically intact. His lungs continue to heal and he is making steady progress.”

The game was suspended after Hamlin fell. It is not expected to reopen this week.



The Doctor: Bill’s safety. Damar Hamlin woke up and was asked if they won the game via a written note

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