Damar Hamlin Appears to Be ‘Neurologically Intact’ After Heart Attack, Buffalo Bills Say

Damar Hamlin, the Buffalo Bills safety who collapsed on the field during Monday Night Football in Cincinnati earlier this week and suffered a cardiac arrest, remains in critical condition at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center but “appears to be neurologically intact,” according to a statement released by the team on Jan. 5.

A Jan. 5 tweet from teammate Kaiir Elam indicated that Hamlin is “awake and showing more signs of improvement.”

During ESPN’s broadcast of Monday Night Football, Hamlin tackled Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins after Higgins caught a pass from quarterback Joe Burrow.

Hamlin stood up and then collapsed.

Medical personnel rushed to the field and administered CPR for 10 minutes before restoring his heartbeat and transporting him from Paycor Stadium to the medical center.

The NFL postponed the game, which has yet to be rescheduled.

On Jan. 4, Bengals head coach Zac Taylor spoke to the media for the first time since the match.

“Not one person” was thinking about returning to the game, he said.

Taylor outlined what happened after the ambulance took Hamlin to the hospital, which is a Level 1 Trauma Center.

After the ambulance departed, Taylor walked across the field to talk to Bills head coach Sean McDermott, who was visibly upset.

“When I got over there, the first thing [McDermott] said was, ‘I need to be at the hospital for Damar, and I shouldn’t be coaching this game,’” Taylor said.

“It was just, let’s particularly give Buffalo space to process as a team because they had not done that,” Taylor said.

“They had just been there for Damar. We’ve been through this situation a million times where there’s an injury on the field and something happens on the field and just the natural process is you give yourself a couple minutes.”

Epoch Times Photo
Head coach Zac Taylor of the Cincinnati Bengals says not one person was thinking of returning to the game after Damar Hamlin’s heart attack. File image on Dec. 11, 2022 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Dylan Buell/Getty Images)

The coaches agreed that their teams should go to their locker rooms. The head coaches and captains for both teams gathered.

“When you saw both those groups interacting, you immediately knew that was the right decision,” Taylor said. “I think both sides needed that.

“Both sets of players, the leaders on the teams, for them to come together, I just stood back and watched,” Taylor added. “You could tell that’s something both locker rooms needed. I’m appreciative our captains responded that way and that was the thought to do that.”

The decision was made to postpone the game. Most members of the Bills’ organization flew home. A few players went to the hospital to support Hamlin and his family. Bengals and Bills fans stood outside the hospital, and some held a candlelight vigil.

There was no directive from the NFL to continue the game, Taylor said.

“It was just let’s let these moments play out and see what the next step is as people get a chance to get their minds right,” Taylor said. “And ultimately that’s what led to the decision there.”

“Make no mistake, this was a man that was in their locker room, that they had deep relationships with, that they had helped grow and develop and spent a lot of time with,” Taylor said.

“Whereas, I didn’t have that relationship with him. I never saw him on the field. I don’t pretend to have gone through what a lot of those other people went through. There’s a lot of processing for people [who are much closer to Damar].

“Just as a respect for other human beings, it hurts your heart, however you saw it unfold,” Taylor added. “It’s unfortunate and to know there’s family in the hospital, there’s a mother whose son is in there, to have kids yourself, that hits a little closer.”

Hamlin played collegiately at the University of Pittsburgh and is 24. The Bills selected Hamlin in the sixth round, 212th overall, in the 2021 NFL Draft.

In 2020, Hamlin created a Christmas toy drive fundraiser on GoFundMe to help children in need while he was still in college.

“As I embark on my journey to the NFL, I will never forget where I come from and I am committed to using my platform to positively impact the community that raised me,” he wrote in the fundraiser description.

In a two-year span through December 2022, the page received $2,921 in donations. It generated around $700,000 within an hour of Hamlin’s on-field collapse. As of the morning of Jan. 5, the total surpassed $7,160,000.

Jeff Louderback

Jeff Louderback covers the White House for The Epoch Times.