Just four days after suffering a spectacular cardiac arrest on the field, safety Demar Hamlin became the Buffalo Bills He breathes on his own And talking to family, doctors and colleagues — positive updates that Bills players say will buoy them going into this weekend’s game against the New England Patriots.
“To hear him talk to us, he was everything, and that’s what we needed. Bills offensive tackle Deion Dawkins said of the team’s video call Friday with Hamlin, who is still undergoing treatment at a Cincinnati hospital.
Doctors said Hamlin — who was sedated and placed on a ventilator after collapsing on Monday — began waking up late this week and was able to have his breathing tube removed before Friday morning.
“I love you guys,” the 24-year-old said to his squad on Friday via FaceTime, according to coach Sean McDermott, who added that Hamlin folded his arms and made a heart-shaped hand gesture during the call.
Since collapsing during a “Monday Night Football” game between the Bills and the Cincinnati Bengals, Hamlin continues to “make significant progress in his recovery” and his “neural function remains intact,” chirp Friday, according to his doctors.
Dawkins described an emotional “rollercoaster” this week for the team – who watched in shock as Hamlin received CPR on the field and was taken off the field in an ambulance. But he said the news of Hamlin’s significant improvement will “definitely feed us” into Sunday’s team game against the Patriots.
“The excitement was beautiful, it was great,” he said of the call with Hamlin. “She gave us so much energy, so much bright and high spirit—whatever you want to call it—she gave us to see that boy’s face.”
Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said Hamlin’s continued recovery is “good news” for the city of Buffalo, which has recently been hit by several tragedies, including Racist mass shooting And Blizzard left at least 41 dead in Erie County.
“What happened to Damar Hamlin, his injury, was another gut punch for the city of Buffalo and seeing him make such a remarkable recovery is definitely a morale booster throughout our community and across the country,” Brown told CNN’s Kate Bolduan on Friday.
After Hamlin’s emergency kick-off was witnessed live by millions, there was an outpouring of support from fans and strangers across the country, many of whom purchased or donated his jersey. Foundation Charitable Fundthat exceeded $8 million had been raised as of Saturday morning. Teams across the NFL have also rallied behind the Bills player by wearing his number, 3, lighting up stadiums and scoreboards, and sharing words of solidarity.
The shows of support will continue this weekend as the league prepares for an emotional return to competition for the regular season finale games on Saturday and Sunday. The NFL plans to honor Hamlin before every game.
The NFL announced Thursday that the Bills-Bengals game — which was initially postponed Monday night — will not resume or be made up.
The cancellation will have no effect on teams that qualify for the playoffs, as the Bills and Bengals already have points locked in. But the imbalance in the number of matches played prompted the league to agree Unprecedented rulings for a postseason season based on how the Bills, Bengals, and their potential opponents rank.
As players head into the final week of the regular season, the NFL has announced several ways teams can honor Hamlin before this weekend’s game, including holding a “support moment” before games or marking a “3” at the 30-yard line in the colors Red or blue bills.
The NFL said players also have the option to wear jerseys emblazoned with “Love for Damar 3” while warming up, and the Bills will wear “3” patches on their jerseys.
Bills general manager Brandon Bean — who stayed in Cincinnati after the game was postponed to be with Hamlin and his family — praised the unified message of support across the league this week, noting how special competition the sport is.
“Yeah, we go to battle. But in the end, life is battle number one,” Bean said. “And to see this unity of players, coaches (general managers), owners and fans, it’s unheard of. But I think it’s a good light. It sheds a great deal of light on the NFL. The NFL really is a family.”
The NFL Players Association named Hamlin Community Player of the Year for Week 18, announcing that the organization will donate $10,000 to the Chasing M.
Philadelphia Eagles running back Miles Sanders said he was able to video chat Hamlin, telling him, “You know you’re the most famous person in the world right now?”
Hamlin replied, “But not for the right reasons,” according to Sanders, who told Hamlin, “You’re blessed, brother, you don’t know how blessed you are.”
Sanders called Hamlin his best friend and said the two spoke after every game, according to him NFL Network reporter James Palmer.
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