University of Cincinnati Medical Center physicians have provided new details on Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin's "remarkable improvement."
Dr. William Knight IV and Dr. Timothy Pritts addressed reporters Thursday (January 5) afternoon and confirmed that Hamlin, who was hospitalized after suffering cardiac arrest during the Bills' now-postponed game against the Cincinnati Bengals on Monday (January 2), was making "substantial progress" and "is awaking."
"He's made substantial improvement. It appears his neurological condition and function is intact," Pritts said via NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. "We are very proud to report that. ... This marks a really good turning point in his ongoing care."
“It’s been a long and difficult road for the past few days," Knight added via NFL Network's Tom Pelissero. "He has been very sick and has made a fairly remarkable improvement."
The physicians confirmed reports that Hamlin was awake as of Wednesday (January 4) night.
Pritts said Hamlin has been able to communicate through writing as he still has a breathing tube in and asked doctors "did we win?" in relation to Monday's game."
"Our response was: Damar, you won. You won the game of life," Pritts said via Pelissero.
The doctors said Hamlin still has a long process in his recovery and the next goal is to get him off a ventilator and breathing on his own, but confirmed that he will eventually be discharged from the hospital, according to NFL Network's Cameron Wolfe.
Hamlin 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 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.
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 was selected by the Bills 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.
A GoFundMe page initially launched by Hamlin as part of a toy drive has raised more than $7 million since his hospitalization, far exceeding the charity's initial goal of $2,500.
An update shared on Tuesday clarified that further contributions would go toward Hamlin's ongoing medical battle.
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