Damar Hamlin’s Recovery Progress Celebrated as NFL Confirms Bills-Bengals Game Cancellation

Buffalo Bills - The cause of Hamlin's cardiac arrest remains unknown (Buffalo Bills)

Buffalo Bills player Damar Hamlin has regained consciousness and is showing signs of neurological improvement while hospitalized in Cincinnati, doctors revealed Thursday.

He can move his hands and feet, news that has sparked relief and joy among his supporters across the country after the 24-year-old suffered cardiac arrest during a game.

Upon waking, Hamlin’s first written question was, “Did we win?” according to Dr. Timothy Pritts, vice chair for clinical operations at UC Health.

“Yes, Damar, you won. You’ve won the game of life,” Pritts responded, paraphrasing his colleague’s words. Though still on a ventilator and unable to speak, Hamlin can communicate by writing.

Player Hamlin (Buffalo Bills)

His collapse during the first quarter of Monday’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals led to the NFL postponing and eventually canceling the game. A meeting with all NFL teams is set for Friday to discuss playoff options.

Hamlin has been showing encouraging signs, such as nodding, shaking his head, and writing brief notes. “It’s clear that he is conscious and aware,” Pritts said. Hamlin, who remains in critical condition at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, has made an outstanding progress since his collapse.

Details of when Hamlin awoke remain unclear, but his agent Ron Butler confirmed that he has been holding hands with family members. While still critically ill, his neurological condition is promising, according to Dr. Pritts. The next goal is to have Hamlin breathe on his own and prepare for eventual discharge from the hospital.

Dr. William Knight IV, a professor at the University of Cincinnati’s department of emergency medicine, noted that Hamlin was resuscitated and intubated on the field. Bills’ assistant athletic trainer Denny Kellington, who performed the life-saving CPR, has been praised for his quick actions by coach Sean McDermott.

The cause of Hamlin’s cardiac arrest remains unknown, with the NFL investigating the incident. The positive update on Hamlin’s condition has been met with widespread celebration, including a tweet from President Joe Biden expressing support.

As NFL teams gear up for their final regular-season games, the league is discussing potential playoff adjustments to address the canceled game. Commissioner Roger Goodell emphasized minimizing disruption and maintaining competitive balance. Proposed adjustments include potentially holding the AFC Championship at a neutral site.

The Bills, preparing to play the Patriots on Sunday, were uplifted by a Zoom call from Hamlin’s father, Mario Hamlin, who provided an update on his son’s progress. This news has helped the team refocus on their upcoming game.

Nationwide support for Hamlin has been overwhelming, with over $7 million donated to his foundation’s toy drive. His No. 3 jersey has become a best-seller, with all proceeds going to his charity, showcasing the solidarity and support for Hamlin’s recovery.