Damar Hamlin asked who won Bills-Bengals when he woke up

Jan 4, 2023, 5:52 PM | Updated: Jan 6, 2023, 4:15 am
FILE - Buffalo Bills defensive back Damar Hamlin (3) leaves the field after an NFL football game ag...

FILE - Buffalo Bills defensive back Damar Hamlin (3) leaves the field after an NFL football game against the New England Patriots, Thursday, Dec. 1, 2022, in Foxborough, Mass. Hamlin was in critical condition early Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2023, after the Bills say his heart stopped following a tackle during the Monday Night Football game, which was indefinitely postponed. (AP Photo/Greg M. Cooper, File)

(AP Photo/Greg M. Cooper, File)

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin has begun to communicate in writing with his family and others who have been at his bedside since he went into cardiac arrest three days ago — and his first question was, “Did we win?” his doctors said Thursday.

“The answer is yes, Damar, you won. You’ve won the game of life.” Dr. Timothy Pritts told reporters in a conference call from the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, where Hamlin was rushed after collapsing and being resuscitated on the field during the Bills’ game against the Bengals on Monday night.

Hamlin remains critically ill and in the hospital’s intensive care unit, but he began to wake up Wednesday night, and it appears his neurological function is intact, meaning he can follow commands and move, Pritts said.

“He still has significant progress he needs to make, but this marks a really good turning point in his ongoing care,” the doctor said.

“His first question that he wrote when he started to awaken was, ‘Did we win?´” Pritts said. “So we know that it’s not only that the lights are on. We know that he’s home. And it appears that all the cylinders are firing within his brain, which is greatly gratifying for all of us.”

Dr. William Knight IV said doctors had not yet determined the cause of Hamlin’s cardiac arrest and that testing is ongoing.

It’s also too early to say whether Hamlin could return to football after undergoing rehabilitation, Knight said.

The developments came as the Bills returned to practice on Thursday for the first time since Hamlin collapsed when his heart stopped after making a tackle during the game’s first quarter.

The game was suspended and will not be resumed, two people familiar with the decision told The Associated Press. Both people spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the league is still figuring out how to determine playoff seedings and scheduling. The NFL Players Association must approve changes.

Hamlin, a second-year player from the Pittsburgh area, spent the past two days sedated and listed in critical condition.

Pritts said during the conference call that neurological signs of improvement began Wednesday night as Hamlin gradually woke up, with the rest of his body healing. Hamlin still cannot speak because of a breathing tube in his throat.

Knight credited the quick medical response with saving Hamlin’s life.

He said a physician was by Hamlin’s side within a minute of him collapsing and recognized that the defensive back did not have a pulse. Knight said Hamlin required CPR and resuscitation on the field.

“It’s been a long and difficult road for the last three days … he has made a pretty remarkable improvement,” Knight said.

“Great news,” President Joe Biden said in a tweet. “Damar, like I told your mom and dad yesterday, Jill and I – along with all of America – are praying for you and your family.”

Along with being able to write, his doctors said Hamlin was able to hold the hands of family and members of the Bills’ administrative and medical teams at his bedside.

Although Hamlin is following commands, doctors have not yet fully assessed his speech and other functions, in part because he is under sedation to accommodate the breathing tube.

“When we talk about neurologically intact, it’s a very gross term of big motor movements and following commands. When we talk about the finer things that make us human — cognition, emotion, speech, language, etc., we’re looking forward to learning more about that,” Knight said.

Over the past few days, players across the league — both former teammates and those who didn’t know Hamlin until Monday — have rallied in support.

Colts safety Rodney Thomas made the two-hour drive from Indianapolis to Cincinnati on Tuesday just to be by the side of his former high school teammate.

“He’s a fighter. I know he’s a fighter and there’s no other thought in my mind other than him walking out under his own power,” Thomas said Wednesday.

Minnesota Vikings defensive tackle Harrison Phillips, who spent the previous four seasons playing for Buffalo, had dinner delivered to the hospital for Hamlin’s family and medical staff.

Fans, team owners and players — including Tom Brady and Russell Wilson — have made donations to Hamlin’s Chasing M’s Foundation, which had raised more than $7.5 million by Thursday evening.

___

AP Pro Football Writer Teresa M. Walker in Nashville contributed to this report. Thompson reported from Buffalo.

___

AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/nfl and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

A person gambles as betting odds for NFL football's Super Bowl are displayed on monitors at the Cir...
Associated Press

Super Bowl prop betting increasing in popularity

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Jay Kornegay was behind the counter in 2004 when someone approached with $5,000 to bet on the Super Bowl but had no idea how to decide. The man, not a regular sports bettor, thought for a few moments and decided to put it all on the Carolina Panthers to score exactly […]
2 days ago
Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a meeting with members of the Security Council via a video ...
Associated Press

Column: IOC talks tough on Russia — until Paris on horizon

The IOC likes to talk tough — as long as it’s not heading into an Olympic year. Not surprisingly, as we draw ever closer to the cash cow that is Paris 2024, the hypocrites running the Olympic movement are eager to get Russia back in the games. They’ll surely find a way, despite Vladimir Putin’s […]
2 days ago
Cincinnati Bengals running back Joe Mixon (28) runs against Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Trent McD...
Associated Press

Menacing charge against Bengals’ Joe Mixon is dismissed

CINCINNATI (AP) — Bengals running back Joe Mixon no longer faces a misdemeanor charge of aggravated menacing over allegations that he threatened and pointed a gun at a woman in Cincinnati. A Friday order dismissing the case in Hamilton County Municipal Court said only that the city prosecutor’s office requested the dismissal “in the interest […]
2 days ago
FILE -  Brooklyn Nets' Kyrie Irving reacts during the second half of the team's NBA basketball game...
Associated Press

Nets’ Kyrie Irving requests trade, according to reports

NEW YORK (AP) — All-Star guard Kyrie Irving has asked the Brooklyn Nets for a trade, according to ESPN and The Athletic. Irving made the request after talks about a new contract did not go to his liking, the news outlets reported Friday. The NBA’s trade deadline is Thursday. The Nets — coming off a […]
2 days ago
Fedor Emelianenko, left, laughs at a comment by interpreter Georgiy Litvinov during a news conferen...
Associated Press

The Emperor’s Last: MMA pioneer Fedor Emelianenko retiring

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Fedor Emelianenko became a near-mythical martial arts figure two decades ago at the grey dawn of the social media age, so his earliest exploits had a tantalizing touch of mystery. His vicious knockouts and submissions weren’t broadcast worldwide or posted on YouTube and Twitter for immediate viewing. They had to be […]
2 days ago
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, center, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen...
Associated Press

Olympic echoes of boycott era as Ukraine vs IOC intensifies

LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — A contest that could define the 2024 Paris Olympics is playing out 18 months before medals are awarded. It’s giving the International Olympic Committee a political challenge with echoes of the 1980s. Ukraine fired up its campaign on Friday to have Russia and military ally Belarus excluded from the next Summer […]
2 days ago
Damar Hamlin asked who won Bills-Bengals when he woke up