The family of Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin has issued its first public statement since his hospitalization Monday (January 3) night.
"On behalf of our family, we want to express our sincere gratitude for the love and support shown to Damar during this challenging time," the Hamlin family said in a statement shared by Jordon Rooney, a friend and marketing representative, on Twitter. "We are deeply moved by the prayers, kind words, and donations from fans around the country.
"We also want to acknowledge the dedicated first responders and healthcare professionals at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center who have provided exceptional care to Damar. We feel so blessed to be part of the Buffalo Bills organization and to have their support. We also want to thank Coach [Zac] Taylor and the Bengals for everything they've done.
"Your generosity and compassion mean the world to us.
"Please keep Damar in your prayers. We will release updates as soon as we have them."
Hamlin "suffered a cardiac arrest" prior to collapsing on the field and being transported to a nearby hospital during the team's postponed Monday Night Football game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paycor Stadium, the Bills confirmed in an update shared on their official Twitter account early Tuesday (January 3) morning.
"Damar Hamlin suffered a cardiac arrest following a hit in our game versus the Bengals," the Bills wrote. "His heartbeat was restored on the field and he was transferred to the UC Medical Center for further testing and treatment. He is currently sedated and listed in critical condition."
Hamlin, 24, tackled Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins during the first quarter of Monday's game and got back to his feet before suddenly falling to the ground. A stretcher and ambulance came onto the field and CPR was administered by first responders.
The second-year safety was reported to be critical condition at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell confirmed in an official statement on behalf of the league shared Monday (January 2) night that also confirmed the official postponement of the game.
"Our thoughts are with Damar and the Buffalo Bills," the NFL said in its statement. "We will provide more information as it becomes available.
Hamlin was reported to have been intubated, according to FOX 19's Tricia Macke.
Rooney had previously shared an update on Hamlin's status prior to the Bills' statement.
"His vitals are back to normal and they have put him to sleep to put a breathing tube down his throat. They are currently running tests. We will provide updates as we have them," Rooney tweeted at 10:54 p.m. ET on Monday.
Both teams were at midfield when Hamlin was taken away in the ambulance. Hamlin's family was with him when he was transported to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, which is located about two miles from Paycor Stadium.
The 24-year-old fell to the ground at around 8:55 p.m. and ESPN diverted its live broadcast from the field to the studio at around 9:08 p.m.
The game was temporarily suspended at 9:17 p.m. before being officially suspended nearly an hour later.
Hamlin, a former standout at the University of Pittsburgh, was selected at No. 212 overall in the sixth-round of the 2021 NFL Draft.
The 24-year-old started in 13 of the 15 games he appeared in and recorded 91 tackles, six tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks during his second season.
"The thoughts and prayers of all of Bills Mafia are supporting you, Damar," the Bills' official Twitter account wrote.
"Damar Hamlin is the best of us," the Pittsburgh Panthers football team's official account tweeted. "We love you, 3 Praying for you."
A toy drive launched by Hamlin and his charity, the Chasing M's Foundation, raised more than $3 million hours after his hospitalization.
A total of $3,737,200 was raised as of Tuesday morning, far exceeding the charity's initial goal of $2,500, according to its GoFundMe page.
The top donors listed include All Elite Wrestling star Chris Jericho -- who appears to have made two donations totaling $10,000 -- Carpet Man Flooring and entrepreneurs Satish Dharmaraj and Arash Ferdowsi.
Paycor Stadium was also lit with blue lights honoring Hamlin and the Bills overnight.
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