Damar Hamlin update: As Bills player remains in critical condition, Colts’ Rodney Thomas II details hospital bedside visit



CNN
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While Buffalo Bills player Damar Hamlin remains in critical condition after suffering a cardiac arrest midgame, his childhood friend and high school teammate, Indianapolis Colts safety Rodney Thomas II, says he there is “no doubt in my mind” that Hamlin will recover.

Thomas drove straight to the hospital where Hamlin was being treated Monday night, where he said Hamlin was sedated after being rushed off the field during the Bills’ game against the Cincinnati Bengals.

“I know he could hear me,” Thomas said, speaking to reporters on Wednesday. He said he could be in the room with Hamlin and hold his hand. β€œEven if he couldn’t hear me, it didn’t matter. I said what I had to say.

The pair, who became close friends while teammates at their Pittsburgh high school, spoke daily and had spoken earlier Monday before Hamlin’s meltdown.

“It calmed me down a lot,” Thomas said upon seeing his friend. β€œIt made the trip home much easier. I could go home and know he’s going to be straight. I got it. We’ve all had it. Everyone is behind him.

Hamlin remains in intensive care at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center after collapsing during the first quarter of Monday night’s game, although he showed “signs of improvement”, his team said in A declaration Wednesday.

His heart rate was restored on the field, the Bills said, before being transported from the stadium in an ambulance under the eyes of stunned and visibly moved players and fans. Hamlin is on a ventilator and was “rolled onto his stomach” in hospital to help relieve some of the pressure on his lungs, his uncle Dorrian Glenn told CNN on Tuesday.

Since his hospitalization, Hamlin has received a nationwide outpouring of support from fans and players across the sports world, including more than $7 million donated to his GoFundMe foundation’s toy drive Thursday morning. Several athletes donned Hamlin’s No. 3 or jersey while teams across the league honored him with jumbotron messages and light displays in their stadiums.

The Bills-Bengals game was postponed after Hamlin collapsed with the Bengals leading 7-3. The NFL is discussing how to handle the incomplete game β€” which won’t continue this week β€” but hasn’t announced a strategy yet.

Originally considered a major late-season matchup with significant playoff implications, the matchup averaged 21.1 million viewers on ESPN during the game, according to Nielsen’s ratings. After Hamlin’s collapse, viewership soared to 23.9 million, making the most-watched “Monday Night Football” telecast in ESPN history.

It’s still unclear what caused Hamlin’s cardiac arrest, but NFL chief medical officer Dr. Allen Sills said the league will investigate what may have led to the player’s collapse during the match.

Each time a player is removed from the field, the NFL and its medical experts perform a detailed review of what happened, Sills said in a call with reporters Wednesday. They’re also looking at what role protective gear may have played, he said.

In some cases, Sills said, the medical team won’t be able to determine the cause of the problem.

The doctor also addressed theories that the cardiac arrest could have been caused by commotio cordis, which occurs when severe trauma to the chest disrupts the heart’s electrical charge, causing dangerous fibrillations.

β€œYou have to have the right kind of punch hit in the right place on the chest with the right amount of force at the right time in this heart cycle. So a lot of things have to line up for that to happen,” he said, stressing that while it is possible, investigators will look at all options.

Sills attributed the “transformational response” of medical staff when Hamlin collapsed to the “60-minute meeting” that is held between medical teams and NFL officials before every game. During the meeting, the teams identify the location of nearby medical equipment and medical centers, and establish a chain of command in case of an emergency, including cardiac arrest, among others.

Hamlin’s collapse is the latest in a series of recent tragedies that have plagued the Buffalo community and its beloved football team, including a racist shooting and a historic blizzard that left at least 41 people dead in Buffalo County. ‘Erie, New York.

A senior member of the Bills organization told CNN’s Coy Wire they broke down in tears after day and night meetings on Tuesday, sobbing because of the seriousness of the situation.

The series of blows in Buffalo has built up emotionally within the organization, the source said, adding that through it all the team has tried to be a source of strength for the city, said source at Wire.

The source pointed to Buffalo Sabers forward Tage Thompson’s performance on Tuesday night as a “ray of hope” at a time when the team needs some inspiration.

Hamlin’s jersey number, 3, was a recurring pattern throughout the game, played on Jan. 3. Thompson’s three overtime goals gave the Sabers the win. It was Thompson’s third hat-trick of the season and his third goal came fortuitously three minutes into overtime.

The Sabers also wore “Love for 3” t-shirts honoring Hamlin before the game.

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