BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin is breathing on his own and able to talk after having his breathing tube removed, and he continues to “progress remarkably” in his recovery, the Buffalo Bills said Friday.
It’s the latest step in his remarkable recovery in the four days since going into cardiac arrest and being resuscitated on the field during a game against the Cincinnati Bengals.
A spokesperson for the Bills said Hamlin’s breathing tube was removed overnight and his neurological function remains intact. They say he has been able to talk to his family members and care team.
Hamlin also FaceTimed into Friday’s team meeting to talk to players and coaches, during which he said, “love you boys,” according to the Bills.
“I probably won’t be able to do it justice,” Bills coach Sean McDermott said Friday, “but just to see Damar, No. 1, through my own eyes, it was something I was hoping to see and kind of something I needed to see … and to see the players’ reaction, they stood up right away and started clapping for him and yelling some things.”
McDermott said he kept it a secret from the team before announcing he had “a treat in store” for them — putting Hamlin on the big screen in the meeting room.
“He’s just an infectious young man with an infectious personality, McDermott said.
Bills teammate Kaiir Elam said Thursday morning that Hamlin, 24, was awake after going into cardiac arrest during Monday night’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals.
“Our boy is doing better, awake and showing more signs of improvement. Thank you God. Keep the prayers coming please. All love 3!” Elam tweeted.
Hamlin was put in a medically induced coma at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center and listed in critical condition as of Thursday. Dr. Timothy Pritts of the UC Medical Center said while speaking with the press Thursday afternoon that Hamlin continues to be treated in the ICU.
Following Hamlin’s cardiac arrest, the Bills-Bengals game was suspended and eventually called off for the remainder of the evening.
The NFL announced Thursday that the game would not be resumed and had been canceled. The NLF is considering a neutral site for the AFC championship game.
On Friday, the NFL Players Association named Hamlin the Week 18 Community MVP.
Following his collapse, a flood of donations was made to Hamlin’s fundraiser tied to The Chasing M’s Foundation, reaching over $7 million as of Friday.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.