Critically ill Buffalo Bills defensive player Damar Hamlin has made substantial progress Cincinnati Medical Center physicians said Thursday, according to a report from The Enquirer.
“Per the physicians at UCMC, Damar’s breathing tube was removed overnight,” the Buffalo Bills Twitter account announced Friday. “He continues to progress remarkably in his recovery. His neurologic function remains intact and he has been able to talk to his family and care team.”
Doctor Timothy Pritts said that when Hamlin first opened his eyes Wednesday, he used a pen and paper to ask, “Did we win?” The Enquirer reported.
“We said, ‘Yes, Damar. You won the game of life.”
Hamlin suffered a cardiac arrest during Monday’s football game against the Cincinnati Bengals after making an open field tackle. He initially seemed fine but soon collapsed. A half dozen doctors with the Bengals and Bills organizations followed NFL protocols dictating how to handle medical emergencies like that. CMC doctors credited the quick, proper medical care provided immediately after the attack with saving his life.
The NFL player has demonstrated resiliency by making such good progress in a recovery doctors call remarkable.
He joined teammates during Friday’s team meeting and communicated using hand signals and gestures.
“Damar Hamlin FaceTimed into our team meeting today to talk to players and coaches,” a Bills spokesperson remarked in a Friday Twitter post. “What he said to the team: ‘Love you boys.'”
The team’s head coach, Sean McDermott, spoke about it during a Friday press briefing, according to a Fox News report.
“It was not a long interaction as you can imagine with his situation,” McDermott said, “but he made hand signals, hand gestures — the thing that makes me laugh is he did this to the guys right away, he flexed on them, I guess.”
“He’s just got some staple things that they know him for and that he does,” McDermott continued. “And he made the heart symbol probably more than anything, and then he gave them a thumbs up. And somewhere in the midst of that, and it was a little bit hard to hear, but he said, ‘I love you boys,’ and, of course, I think that got the guys.”