Damar Hamlin has returned home to continue 'next stage of his recovery'

Damar Hamlin in UC Medical Center
Bills Patriots Football
Posted at 9:11 PM, Jan 02, 2023

CINCINNATI — Damar Hamlin has been released from the University of Cincinnati Medical Center and is already at home in Buffalo, according to an announcement from UCMC made Monday afternoon.

Dr. William A. Knight and Dr. Timothy Pritts, physicians at UCMC, said Hamlin has boarded a plane and is already home with his family in Buffalo.

“Mr. Hamlin has been released and returned to Buffalo. I traveled with him to the airport this morning with our UC Health air care and mobile care crew, including teammates who were with us on the field when Mr. Hamlin collapsed," said Knight.

Hamlin may be home, but he isn't out of the woods yet, Knight said. The Buffalo Bills safety still has "a ways to go" in his recovery and both doctors declined to speculate on whether he would be able to return to a football field in his future.

In Buffalo, Hamlin will be closely monitored to ensure the flight did not have any affects on his lungs or overall condition, but Knight said so far they've been told he is doing well.

Hamlin was just extubated three days ago — meaning the breathing tube was removed — and Knight emphasized that Hamlin will still have a road to recovery ahead while at the hospital in Buffalo. Between then and his flight from Cincinnati Monday morning, Hamlin has been up and around, participating in physical therapy and walking the unit, Knight said. He's also been successfully tolerating a normal diet.

Knight and Pritts said they are "ecstatic about his recovery."

Hamlin was so excited watching teammate Nyheim Hines return the opening kickoff 96 yards for a touchdown that "he jumped up and down, got out of his chair, set every alarm off in the ICU in the process," Pritts said with a laugh.

You can watch the full update below:

Hamlin took his first steps at UC Medical Center, NFL broadcasters said Sunday during the Cincinnati Bengals game against the Baltimore Ravens.

Broadcasters said Tyler Boyd — who grew up with Hamlin — went to visit him in the ICU. Boyd told them that Hamlin had just taken his first steps that day.

The Buffalo safety also posted a photo Sunday of himself with his parents at UCMC.

On Saturday, Hamlin thanked those who have supported him since he went into cardiac arrest during Monday Night Football's game between the Buffalo Bills and the Cincinnati Bengals.

"When you put real love out into the world it comes back to you 3x's as much," Hamlin wrote.

Hamlin called the love "overwhelming."

"If you know me you know this only gone make me stronger," Hamlin wrote. "On a long road keep praying for me!"

Saturday afternoon, doctors at UC Medical Center said Hamlin is making "continued progress" though still being in critical condition.

The Bills said Friday morning that his breathing tube had been removed.

Hamlin was even able to FaceTime the team, speaking to them for the first time since collapsing at Paycor Stadium after going into cardiac arrest during Buffalo's Monday Night Football against the Bengals.

"Love you boys," he told the team from UC Medical Center.

Hamlin was first able to communicate Wednesday night via pen and paper. The first question UC Health doctors said he asked after he awoke from a medically-induced coma was, "Did we win?"

Their response: "Yes. You won the game of life."

'Did we win?' 'Yes. You won the game of life.'

Dr. William A. Knight and Dr. Timothy Pritts provided an update Thursday regarding Hamlin's condition and his recovery, saying the 24-year-old has shown "substantial improvement in his condition."

The 24-year-old has been in the ICU at UCMC since Monday night.

Hamlin tackled Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins, got up from the play and then collapsed in a matter of seconds. As medical personnel surrounded Hamlin, players for both the Bills and Bengals could be seen visibly emotional — some holding hands and kneeling.

Knight said Hamlin initially had a pulse on the field but lost it, and was then given CPR and defibrillated on the field. He was then later resuscitated a second time.

Pritts said the fast action from sideline medics was paramount as a few minutes or even seconds without could have made a difference in Hamlin's state today.

"We cannot credit their team enough," Knight said.

While they said Hamlin has made a "fairly remarkable recovery," neither doctor disclosed whether or not he'd make a full recovery, rather saying instead their focus is on his most immediate medical needs.

"The best outcome would be (to get him) back to who he was before this all happened," Knight said.

Between "get well soon" cards, donations to Hamlin's charity toy drive and buildings lit in blue, both Knight and Pritts also acknowledged the outpouring of support from Cincinnati and beyond.

"It's been very powerful," Knight said.

They also said Hamlin himself is beginning to take in just how many people have been supporting him as he continues to be surrounded by his family, Bills staff and more.

In a statement Tuesday, Hamlin's family said in part, "We want to express our sincere gratitude for the love and support shown to Damar during this challenging time. We are deeply moved by the prayers, kind words and donations from fans around the country."

Though Hamlin asked who won the game, there reportedly will never be an answer.

The NFL announced Thursday the Bengals-Bills game has been canceled. Owners voted Friday to approve new playoff procedures, including a scenario in which a coin flip would decide if Cincinnati hosts a Wild Card game.

As both teams head into Week 18, players and coaches said the uplifting news has cleared some of their worries.

"I think I'll be pretty fine now that he's OK and he's responsive ... that relieved me from everything," Bengals WR Tyler Boyd said.

Bengals coach Zac Taylor also talked Wednesday about his experience, noting that he and the team are focusing on their upcoming game against the Baltimore Ravens.

"You do have to move forward as a team because we do have a game to play Sunday," said Taylor.

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