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Bills S Damar Hamlin improving; awake, ‘neurologically intact’

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Getty Images

There is a collective sigh of relief and hope

This is the news we all hoped and prayed for. Let’s hope it continues to get better.

Doctors at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center confirmed that Bills safety Damar Hamlin has awakened and is neurologically intact. He is still intubated but is steadily improving and has communicated with those around him in writing.

According to Dr. Timothy Pritts, Hamlin asked doctors who won the game.

Hamlin, 24, took what looked like a routine hit in the process of tackling Bengals receiver Tee Higgins on Monday Night Football. After initially standing up, Hamlin crumpled to the ground. He went into cardiac arrest and received both CPR and defibrillation from an AED before being rushed to the hospital.

The outpouring of terror and concern from the NFL community and the world has been overwhelming. Football news went into a standstill the next day as players, coaches, reporters, analysts, and fans alike struggled to process what happened and cope with their emotions.

Hamlin’s GoFundMe for his Chasing M’s Foundation, which previously had a goal of $2,500, has reached over $7.3 million and counting. Many NFL players and personnel have donated, including Tom Brady, Russell Wilson, Patriots owner Robert Kraft and a number of Patriots players, and Colts owner Jim Irsay. Hamlin’s father Mario has released a statement on behalf of the charity.

Additionally, NFL stadiums around the country have been lit up with the Bills’ colors and the No. 3, including MetLife Stadium. The Buffalo Sabres’ players entered their Wednesday contest sporting Hamlin jerseys, and various players and coaches have donned gear showing their support for their brother in danger.

Dr. William Knight gave credit to the Bills’ medical team, saying that it is rare for something like this to be recognized so quickly. The man who first recognized it was assistant trainer Denny Kellington.

There is one big sigh of relief around the world as those who have watched in horror can finally see improvement. Hamlin is not out of the woods yet, as he still needs to improve lung function and be extubated, but he is on the road to recovery.

Awareness of the possible mental health implications of such a traumatic event has been heightened. Commissioner Roger Goodell informed teams that the NFL’s mental health staff is available for players, and each team had its own doctors and mental health professionals speak to the players.

The football implications of the cancellation of the Bills-Bengals game will fall with they may. The health and well-being of a young man are paramount.

We continue to root for Damar.

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