NFL star and Bills safety, Damar Hamlin has continued to make excellent progress after going into cardiac arrest on the field on Monday night.
The Bills released a statement on Friday morning January 6, saying that doctors at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center have removed Hamlin’s breathing tube, and he is speaking with no signs of neurological issues.
“Per the physicians at UCMC, Damar’s breathing tube was removed overnight. He continues to progress remarkably in his recovery,” the statement said. “His neurologic function remains intact and he has been able to talk to his family and care team.”
The Bills also said Hamlin spoke with his teammates this morning over FaceTime. That was undoubtedly the greatest victory in a Bills season that has been marked by the spirit of Hamlin, who wrote on a piece of paper as soon as he regained consciousness: “Did we win?”
The Bills’ update followed an earlier report from The Athletic’s Shams Charania.
‘A blessing,’ Charania’s tweet began. ‘The breathing tube is out of Damar Hamlin as of this morning and he has begun talking to Buffalo Bills teammates again. Hamlin has had a breathing tube in body through his throat since Monday night, but no longer needs it and can breathe fully on his own.’
On Thursday, doctors said Hamlin has made ‘substantial improvement.’
‘He is beginning to awaken and it appears his neurological condition and function is intact,’ said UC College of Medicine’s Dr. Timothy Pritts in a video press conference.
Hamlin had been sedated following his on-field resuscitation on Monday, but began communicating with doctors in writing Wednesday.
He even asked doctors who won Monday’s game, which was postponed and later canceled after he collapsed in the first quarter.
‘Our response was: Damar, you won,’ Pritts told reporters. ‘You won the game of life.’
Both Pritts and University of Cincinnati’s Dr. William Knight said the speed of medics’ response to Hamlin’s collapse on Monday was critical in saving the Pittsburgh native’s life.
Physicians were by Hamlin’s side within a minute of his collapse and immediately realized that he did not have a pulse.
‘There are injuries that happen in sports, but it’s rare to have something [that] incredibly serious [that quickly],’ Pritts said. ‘We cannot credit [the Bills medical] team enough.’
‘It’s been a long and difficult road for the last three days,’ Knight said. ‘[Hamlin] has made a pretty remarkable improvement.’
Knight said Thursday that he had no idea when Hamlin’s breathing tube would be removed.
‘Every patient is different,’ Knight told reporters. ‘When patients’ families ask, how long are they going to be on a ventilator, in the ICU, [we’ll say], as long as it takes.’
The public learned the answer to that on Friday when Hamlin’s breathing tube was removed.