Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin has shown “remarkable improvement” and appears to be “neurologically intact” after suffering a cardiac arrest during Monday’s NFL game against the Cincinnati Bengals.
The Bills released the update on the 24-year-old’s condition in a brief statement on Thursday, a day after Hamlin’s uncle Dorrian Glenn said his nephew had to be resuscitated twice after colliding with Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins.
“Per the physicians caring for Damar Hamlin at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, Damar has shown remarkable improvement over the past 24 hours,” the statement read.
“While still critically ill, he has demonstrated that he appears to be neurologically intact.
“His lungs continue to heal and he is making steady progress. We are grateful for the love and support we have received.”
Speaking to CNN on Wednesday, Glenn said: “His heart had went out so they had to resuscitate him twice.
“They resuscitated him on the field before they brought him to the hospital and then they resuscitated him a second time when they got him to the hospital.
“I’m not a crier, but I’ve never cried so hard in my life. Just to know, like, my nephew basically died on the field and they brought him back to life.”
Bills players and staff were seen praying together on the field as an ambulance took Hamlin to hospital.
His team-mates were given a standing ovation by fans and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell soon announced that the game had been postponed following the incident.
The NFL said the fixture will not be finished this week but added that the Bills’ clash against the New England Patriots on Sunday is still scheduled to go ahead.
The incident sparked a surge in support for a charitable campaign set up by Hamlin two years ago to purchase toys for children in need.
Donations to the Chasing M’s Foundation Community Toy Drive had passed £6million at 1600GMT on Thursday.
Doctors at the UC Medical Center told a news conference that Hamlin was showing “good signs” of improvement.
“This marks a good turning point in his ongoing care,” said Dr William Knight, professor in the department of emergency medicine.
Hamlin has a breathing tube down his throat, but has been able to respond to and communicate with doctors via writing. The first question he asked was if the Bills had won the game. Knight said: “Yes, you won – you have won the game of life.”
Doctors said it was “entirely too early” to consider whether Hamlin, who had started to move his hands and feet, would be able to resume a playing career.
Knight stressed there was as yet no “definitive answers” about what caused the cardiac arrest.
It had been suggested Hamlin could have suffered from commotio cordis, which occurs when a person receives a sudden trauma to their chest and disrupts the electrical system in the heart.
Knight said: “It (commotio cordis) is an incredibly rare event that happens and it is (now) basically a diagnosis of exclusion. He has ongoing testing and has testing in the future.
“Is it (commotio cordis) on the list of explanations? It is, but we have to rule out many more common conditions before we settle on an ultimate diagnosis.”
Dr Timothy Pritts, division chief of general surgery and vice chair for clinical operations, praised the on-field treatment Hamlin received from the Bills medical staff at Paycor Stadium.
“We cannot credit their team enough,” he said. “There are injuries that happen in sports, but it is rare to have something (that) incredibly serious (happen that quickly).”