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Latest Damar Hamlin health updates: Buffalo Bills player cleared to return home

Damar Hamlin, Buffalo Bills
Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

After suffering a cardiac arrest two weeks ago, Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin’s condition has consistently improved to the point where he has finally been allowed to continue his recovery at home.

In the first quarter of the Cincinnati Bengals versus Bills game in Week 17, Hamlin took a serious blow to his chest during a tackle on wide receiver Tee Higgins. After initially getting up following the play, the former Pittsburgh Panthers star collapsed on the field.

The scene was surreal as medical personnel rushed onto the field to provide aid to Hamlin, 24. Within minutes, Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) was provided, and he was then transported by ambulance to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center.

Related: Bills star says Damar Hamlin actually apologized for trauma his collapse created

Following the scary moment, the Bills vs. Bengals game was postponed, and then eventually suspended by the NFL. The league and the nation followed Damar Hamlin’s health situation closely as he tried to bounce back from a near-death experience.

Here are the latest updates on Hamlin:

Damar Hamlin’s condition

  • On January 11, the Buffalo Bills announced that after being moved from Cincinnati to the Buffalo General Medical Center in New York, Hamlin underwent a battery of cardiac, neurological, and vascular tests. The tests revealed positive results and the medical center discharged Hamlin. Allowing him to return home to continue his recovery.
  • The first week of January brought more positive news when The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported that “the breathing tube is out of Damar Hamlin as of this morning and he has begun talking to Buffalo Bills teammates again.” Hamlin had been using a breathing tube since Monday but can now fully breathe on his own.
  • An update on Hamlin’s condition revealed the 24-year-old is awake but still requires a breathing tube. However, he has been able to communicate his thoughts through writing. He even asked who won the game. At this point, there is hope Hamlin can resume a normal life with a full recovery.
  • Hamlin remained in ICU, however, the team released a statement noting his “remarkable improvement” over the last 24 hours. “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,” the Buffalo Bills statement says.
  • The Buffalo defensive back has reportedly also opened his eyes and “has been gripping the hands of those close to him,” says NFL Network league insider Ian Rapoport.
  • On Wednesday morning following the injury, the 24-year-old is still on a ventilator and in critical condition. However, on Tuesday evening his uncle, Dorrian Glen, informed ESPN his nephew is “improving from where he was yesterday.” Hamlin’s agent, Ron Butler, also informed the outlet that his client’s oxygen levels have improved over the last day.
  • The Bills released a statement early Tuesday morning updating Hamlin’s status, saying Hamlin had his heartbeat restored on the field before being transferred to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center where he remains in critical condition. The Bills added that Hamlin had been sedated and is undergoing “further testing and treatment.”
  • Buffalo then released another statement Tuesday afternoon updating Hamlin’s status. The second-year safety spent the night in the intensive care unit and remains there at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center.
  • The Hamlin family released a statement through spokesperson Jordon Rooney late Tuesday morning. Here’s a look at said statement, which thanked individuals for their support and showed gratitude for first responders as well as the Bengals’ organization.
  • Emergency personnel inside Paycor Stadium gave Hamlin CPR on the field before he was loaded on to an ambulance.
  • Hamlin was also provided an Automated External Defibrillator (AED), which is generally used to analyze heart rhythm while delivering an electric shock to the individual.

“Lots of medical terms being thrown around. FYI, an automated external defibrillator (AED) is a medical device that analyzes heart rhythm and delivers an electric shock to victims of ventricular fibrillation (an irregular beating of the the heart) to restore normal heart rhythm.”

Former U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams on Damar Hamlin’s situation
  • The NFL released a statement following the incident, indicating that Monday night’s game has been suspended. In said statement, the league said Hamlin is in critical condition.

“Tonight’s Buffalo Bills-Cincinnati Bengals game has been postponed after Buffalo Bills’ Damar Hamlin collaped, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced.

Hamlin received immediate medical attention on the field by team and independent medical staff and local paramedics. He was then transported to a local hospital where he is in critical condition.”

NFL statement on Damar Hamlin’s condition
  • Hamlin’s marketing rep and close friend Jordon Rooney announced via social media late Monday night that the safety’s vitals are back to normal and doctors at University of Cincinnati Medical Center intubated him. 
  • Based on ESPN’s Coley Harvey’s report after speaking with Dorrian Glenn (Hamlin’s uncle), Hamlin had to be resuscitated twice. Once on the field and once when the ambulance arrived at the Cincinnati hospital. There are also now concerns about possible lung damage.
  • More from Hamlin’s uncle indicates the Bills player is now on a ventilator, but his situation is improving, needing just 50% assistance to breathe instead of previously being 100% reliant on receiving oxygen. Hamlin is still sedated.

Who is Damar Hamlin?

pittsburgh panthers defensive back damar hamlin
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

A sixth-round pick of the Bills back in 2021, Hamlin played college football for the Pittsburgh Panthers. According to 247 Sports, he was a four-star recruit in the class of 2016. Hamlin opted for his home state Panthers over the likes of national powers such as Penn State, Notre Dame, Ohio State, and Oklahoma.

An All-ACC second-team performer as a senior in 2020, Hamlin graduated from Pittsburgh with a bachelor’s degree in communication. He’s currently seeking a second degree in sociology.

Born on March 24 of 1998, Hamlin is the son of Mario and Nina Hamlin. He has one brother. Hamlin’s mother took to the field as her son was being loaded onto an ambulance following Monday’s accident in Cincinnati.

Those close to the young man, including Penn State head coach James Franklin, provided their support to Hamlin after news of the medical emergency broke.

“Terry Smith and myself recruited him, got to know his whole family, unbelievable family and obviously we’re sending our thoughts and prayers to him and the family and hoping and praying that everything is okay.”

Penn State head coach James Franklin on Damar Hamlin

A native of McKees Rocks, Pennsylvania, and alumnus of Pittsburgh Central Catholic High School, Hamlin has started 14 games as a sophomore for the Bills.

This article will be updated as needed.

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