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Medical officials say NFL player Damar Hamlin has made ‘substantial improvement’

FILE – Buffalo Bills defensive back Damar Hamlin (3) leaves the field after an NFL football game against the New England Patriots, Thursday, Dec. 1, 2022, in Foxborough, Mass. Hamlin was in critical condition early Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2023, after the Bills say his heart stopped following a tackle during the Monday Night Football game, which was indefinitely postponed. (AP Photo/Greg M. Cooper, File)

Medical officials on Thursday said that Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin has made “substantial improvement” in recovering from a cardiac arrest episode that halted his team’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals on Monday night. 

“He’s made substantial improvement. It appears his neurological condition and function is intact,” University of Cincinnati Medical Center (UCMC) official Timothy Pritts said at a news conference.  

“We are very proud to report that, very happy for him and for his family, and for the Buffalo Bills organization that he is making improvement,” Pritts said.

Pritts said the second-year NFL player is undergoing intensive care treatment in the center’s ICU unit.

“They are attending to him and he still has significant progress that he needs to make. … This marks a really good turning point in his ongoing care,” he said.

UC Health official William Knight, who was alongside Pritts at the news conference, thanked the Bills’s medical officials for their quick thinking in performing CPR on Hamlin moments after he collapsed.

“[The] team and I speak together we cannot credit their team enough,” Knight said at the news conference. “There are often, unfortunately — there are injuries occasionally that happen on sports fields via football or others … but it is incredibly rare to have something be this serious that happens like that and to be that quickly recognized.” 

Hamlin suffered a cardiac arrest episode when he completed his tackle of Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins during the first quarter of Monday’s contest.

Hamlin, 24, had to be resuscitated twice by medical officials on the field and at the medical facility, according to his uncle, Dorrian Glenn. 

The NFL announced that the game will not resume this week, though league officials have not made a decision on whether to resume the game at a later date.

In response to the incident, fans have raised more than $7.3 million for Hamlin’s charitable foundation, the Chasing M’s Foundation Community Toy Drive, through the foundation’s GoFundMe page, surpassing its initial $2,500 goal. 

Knight and Pritts also said that Hamlin, while still on a breathing ventilator, was communicating to medical officials through handwriting, asking officials when he woke up who won the game. 

“And you know, to paraphrase one of our partners, you know, when he asked, ‘Did we win?’ The answer is “Yes, you know, Damar, You won. You’ve won the game of life.”

Tags Buffalo Bills Cardiac arrest Cincinnati Cincinnati Bengals damar hamlin NFL Ohio University of Cincinnati Medical Center

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