While NFL safety Damar Hamlin is still critically ill after suffering cardiac arrest during a game on Monday, he is making a "fairly remarkable recovery," his doctors said during a news conference on Thursday.
“There has been substantial improvement in his condition over the past 24 hours,” Dr. Timothy Pritts, a professor in the department of surgery at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, told reporters. “We had significant concern about him after the injury and after the event that happened on the field. But he is making substantial progress. As of this morning, he is beginning to awaken, and it appears that his neurological condition and function is intact.”
Hamlin is “awake and breathing,” though still on a ventilator, Pritts added. He can communicate by writing with a pen and paper.
“When he asked did we win, the answer is, 'Yes, you know, Damar, you won, you've won the game of life,” said Pritts, referring to Hamlin's question about who won the game after his collapse.
His medical team could not say what caused the cardiac arrest in the 24-year-old, but Dr. William Knight IV said, “tests will continue to be ongoing as he continues to progress.”
“It's been a long and difficult road for the last three days,” said Knight, a professor in the university's department of emergency medicine. “He has been very sick and has made a fairly remarkable recovery and improvement.”
Knight said that Hamlin, 24, is showing overall clinical improvement “related to not just his vital signs but a lot of his other individual organ recovery.”
Hamlin is moving his hands and feet, Pritts said, but Knight said it was “truly too early” to know whether Hamlin would fully recover or return to professional football.
“We know that he's home and that [it] appears that all cylinders are firing within his brain,” Pritts said. “Which is greatly gratifying for all of us, for the nurses and respiratory therapists and caregivers as for his family and for everybody else beyond.”
During the game, Hamlin collapsed and fell backward after a routine tackle. Medical staff from the teams worked to restart Hamlin's heart until he was taken to the hospital 10 minutes after the collapse.
During the Thursday media briefing, Hamlin's doctors praised the medical staff on the field for their quick response.
That saved his neurological function, the doctors said. The Bills medical staff quickly realized that Hamlin was in cardiac arrest, Knight said, and immediately began resuscitation efforts.
The doctors cautioned that it was not yet possible to know whether Hamlin would regain fine motor function. His cognition, motion, speech and language will be assessed later.
The Bills began practicing again on Thursday after a walk-through practice Wednesday. They're scheduled to play the New England Patriots on Sunday.
The American Heart Association has more on cardiac arrest.
SOURCE: New York Times, You Tube