After suffering cardiac arrest during a game on Monday, Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin remains in critical condition in intensive care, with “signs of improvement” noted over the past day. his team tweeted early Wednesday afternoon, as worried fans across the country awaited news of his whereabouts.
“He is expected to remain in intensive care as his health care team continues to monitor and treat him,” the Bills said.
FOLLOW LIVE UPDATES
Hamlin, 24, had always been sedated on a ventilator as doctors struggled to get him to breathe on his own, his uncle Dorrian Glenn told CNN on Tuesday, after Hamlin collapsed on the pitch overnight. prior interrupted the Bills’ game against the Cincinnati Bengals, stunning a crowded stadium that moments earlier had been waving with excitement over Hamlin’s tackle on a Bengals wide receiver.
Hamlin’s heart rate was restored on the field as staff tended to him, the Bills said, before being taken to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, where he was still being treated on Wednesday. Hamlin was resuscitated only once, a family spokesperson said Wednesday, not twice, as his uncle told CNN on Tuesday.
“My nephew basically died in the field and they brought him back to life,” Glenn said Tuesday.
It is still unclear what led to the cardiac arrest. CNN has requested comment from the hospital system, which does not release information about Hamlin or grant interviews with his medical staff.
Hamlin is on a ventilator to relieve some of the pressure on his lungs, which have been damaged, according to Glenn. Doctors told Glenn his nephew had also been ‘turned onto his stomach’ in hospital to help with the blood on his lungs, he said, adding: ‘It seems he has a positive trend .”
Hamlin’s cardiac arrest came as the NFL is under scrutiny over how it protects players in an inherently violent game. Hamlin collapsed shortly after a collision in which Higgins tried to pass Hamlin, who had come in for a tackle, with around six minutes remaining in the first quarter of Monday’s game. Hamlin still writhed Higgins to the floor and stood up – but within seconds fell and lay still.
Monday’s game was postponed with the Bengals leading 7-3, and will not resume this week, and no decision has been made on whether to continue, the NFL announced Tuesday.
On-field injuries are not uncommon in the league, which often resumes play even after severe cases. Many current and former players strongly supported the game’s postponement, saying Hamlin’s cardiac arrest was particularly disturbing as medical staff battled to save his life as fans and players watched.
As Hamlin was treated on the pitch, some players would drop to their knees, send a prayer, or openly cry and hug. Bills offensive tackle Dion Dawkins realized the seriousness of his teammate’s condition when Hamlin lay on the ground as more medical personnel were called in, he said.
“At that point, you just think like, ‘What can I do? What can we do?’ And it immediately breaks you in prayer,” Dawkins told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on Tuesday. “Whether you’re a believer or not, only a higher power can truly take control of what’s to come. helped this higher power.
The incident marks the latest in a series of tragic blows for the community of Buffalo, which in recent months suffered a racist shooting and historic blizzard that left at least 41 dead in Erie County, New York. “It’s been, you know, just (a) steady beat for Buffalo,” Dawkins said.
An outpouring of support surrounded Hamlin and his family as messages of prayers and well wishes poured in from star athletes, fans and national leaders. A fundraiser Hamlin previously started for his Chasing M’s Foundation toy drive has raised more than $6 million since his hospitalization.
At a prayer service for the player on Tuesday night, community members described the heartbreak of seeing ‘one of us’ enduring such a crisis.
“All you can do now is pray for Damar: the man, not the football player, not the Buffalo Bill, but the person,” said City Poet Laureate Jillian Hanesworth. “He has to get out of this.”
Cardiac arrest results from electrical disturbances that cause the heart to suddenly stop beating properly, and death can occur quickly if help is not rendered immediately. It is not the same as a heart attack or heart failure.
When the heart isn’t beating well, fluid can sometimes back up into the lungs and prevent medical staff from oxygenating the patient, CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta explained. Thus, they turn the person on their stomach in a lying position to facilitate breathing.
The supine position “is only used when it is very difficult to get oxygen or get gases in and out of the lungs”, which can happen when fluid builds up in the lungs because the heart is not doesn’t work well, Dr. Jonathan Reiner, a cardiologist and director of the Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory at George Washington University Hospital, said Tuesday.
It appeared Tuesday night that Hamlin still had a significant amount of cardiac dysfunction and his heart wasn’t pumping enough blood, Gupta told CNN’s Anderson Cooper at the time. One treatment option would be to reduce the body’s demand for oxygenated blood, he said.
“So you want to improve the amount of circulation, but in the meantime you can also reduce the demand by sedating someone, keeping them on a ventilator,” he said. “Sometimes they even use cooling agents, hypothermia, to practically put the body into a state of near hibernation, so it doesn’t demand as much oxygenated blood. That’s part of the reason he’s also reportedly on a ventilator.
Hamlin was only resuscitated once after his collapse, his family’s spokesperson said on Wednesday. Glenn, the player’s uncle, misspoke when he told CNN and ESPN the day before that Hamlin had been resuscitated twice, spokesman Jordon Rooney said.
“There’s a lot of medical jargon, a lot of stuff being said, so Damar was only resuscitated once,” Rooney, Hamlin’s friend and marketing representative, said on behalf of the family on Wednesday.
“His uncle is incredibly supportive of his nephew. … I think, you know, he just wanted to do his part to share some good news, and I think he misspoke,” Rooney said.
The family said they are grateful for all the support they have received, including from the hospital, fans and the NFL community.
“(They’re) incredibly grateful for everything that’s been there, for all the support that they’ve had. It’s made it a little bit easier for them,” Rooney said Wednesday. grateful, and that means a lot to them.”
Higgins, the receiver involved in the collision that preceded Hamlin’s collapse, contacted Hamlin’s family and supported him, Rooney said.
Several star athletes – including a tennis player Coco GauffNFL’s JJ Watt and NBA legend LeBron James – applauded the NFL’s decision to postpone the game and stressed the importance of Hamlin’s safe recovery to the game’s outcome.
Former NFL player Donté Stallworth says the league’s decision to postpone the game wouldn’t have happened years ago. “Five or 10 years ago the game probably would have resumed,” he told CNN’s Jim Sciutto on Tuesday.
“I don’t know if you can make the game much safer,” he said. “It’s a brutal sport. I think people forget that. They sometimes consider players more like commodities, especially with fantasy football.
“Sometimes we forget the human side, that these players are actually human beings and they have families and they have wives and children,” he added, pointing out that “the mother of Hamlin was there to testify with his own eyes.”
Dawkins was relieved and grateful his team didn’t have to keep playing, he said.
“The fact that we haven’t had to go back to that pitch and play just shows that there is care, and that’s all we can ask for is that we are treated like people,” he said. “Because most people treat us like athletes, like superstars, and some people like celebrities, but then they treated us like people.”
Bills players and staff are still processing Monday night’s events, a team source told CNN’s Coy Wire on Tuesday.
The ongoing shock of Hamlin’s hospitalization — in addition to the city’s mass shooting in May, the deadly blizzard in December, the move to a November home game in Detroit, and being stuck in Chicago over the holidays — has been heavy on everyone associated with the club, the source says.
“Everyone is exhausted,” the source told Wire, adding that the team’s return flight to New York didn’t land until 3:30 a.m. ET on Tuesday.
This story has been updated to reflect the number of times Hamlin has been resuscitated based on information from a family spokesperson and his uncle.