January 5, 2023 The latest updates on NFL star Damar Hamlin's condition

By Aditi Sangal, Adrienne Vogt, Leinz Vales and Matt Meyer, CNN

Updated 9:26 a.m. ET, January 6, 2023
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2:06 p.m. ET, January 5, 2023

Damar Hamlin asked who won the game between Bills and Bengals, doctor says

Buffalo Bills' Damar Hamlin, left, and Jordan Poyer run onto the field before the Bills' game against the Cincinnati Bengals on January 2 in Cincinnati.
Buffalo Bills' Damar Hamlin, left, and Jordan Poyer run onto the field before the Bills' game against the Cincinnati Bengals on January 2 in Cincinnati. (Joshua A. Bickel/AP)

UC Health doctors said Damar Hamlin has even asked who had won the game between his Buffalo Bills and the Cincinnati Bengals in which he suffered cardiac arrest.

Hamlin has not spoken yet, said Dr. Timothy Pritts, so Hamlin's communication has all been through writing.

"We are in the situation where we wanted to allow him to gradually wake up as the rest of his body was healing and last night, he was able to emerge and follow commands and even ask who had won the game," he said.

"When he asked, 'did we win?,' the answer is, yes, you know, Damar, you won. You've won the game of life and that's probably the important thing out of this, and we really need to keep him in the center of everything else that's going on, and we really want to ensure a good outcome for him," he said.

2:03 p.m. ET, January 5, 2023

Hospital officials credit Bills staff for quick recognition and resuscitating Hamlin on the field

Dr. William Knight, left, and Dr. Timothy Pritts from the University of Cincinnati Medical Center share an update on Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin via videoconference Thursday afternoon.
Dr. William Knight, left, and Dr. Timothy Pritts from the University of Cincinnati Medical Center share an update on Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin via videoconference Thursday afternoon. (UC Health)

Officials at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center outlined the emergency response from the time Damar Hamlin collapsed during the Buffalo Bills game against the Cincinnati Bengals.

The hospital's director of emergency medicine, Dr. William Knight, said a "significant number of care team" was present at the game and were "involved in helping with Mr. Hamlin on the field on Monday night."

That included four of the hospital's emergency physicians in various roles, along with medical staff from both teams.

Knight credited the Buffalo Bills medical staff for quickly recognizing the safety had suffered a cardiac arrest, saying "that allowed for a very immediate resuscitation on the field."

"He was promptly resuscitated. It did require CPR and defibrillation," Knight said during a news conference Thursday.

At that point, he was rushed to the hospital.

"He was managed and resuscitated and worked up in the emergency department, had some additional tests in the ED and in the hospital, and then has been managed in the surgical ICU," Knight said.

3:15 p.m. ET, January 5, 2023

Doctor says tests are still ongoing to determine cause of Hamlin's cardiac arrest

From CNN's Carma Hassan and Adrienne Vogt

When asked about a specific cause of Damar Hamlin's cardiac arrest, a University of Cincinnati doctor said tests are still underway to determine it.

"The answer to that is that that workup is ongoing. We do not have definitive answers as to the etiology of the arrest, and tests will continues to progress," said Dr. William Knight, lead physician and professor of emergency medicine at UC Health.

Knight said they aren’t ruling out commotio cordis, but it is too soon to tell without further testing.

Commotio cordis — when severe trauma to the chest disrupts the heart’s electrical charge and causes dangerous fibrillations – is an “incredibly rare event that happens. It's also a diagnosis of exclusion in our world, which basically means we have to rule out many other more common or more deadly or more fixable type conditions before we can settle in on an ultimate diagnosis such as that,” said Knight.

“Is it on the list of considerations? It is, but he has many other things that we need to work through before a final etiology or cause for this arrest can be definitively defined,” Knight added.

Due to privacy concerns, Hamlin’s doctors repeatedly declined to answer specific questions about results of tests Hamlin is undergoing.

Doctors said review is still pending, and they weren’t able to provide detailed answers about how long Hamlin received CPR, Hamlin’s current oxygen level, whether an echocardiogram done, whether Hamlin has seen a specialist about underlying rhythmic or genetic causes, or whether there was damage to other organs such as the kidneys or liver.

3:24 p.m. ET, January 5, 2023

"His neurological condition and function is intact." Damar Hamlin is making substantial progress, doctor says

The University of Cincinnati Medical Center, where Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin lies in critical condition, is seen January 3 in Cincinnati.
The University of Cincinnati Medical Center, where Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin lies in critical condition, is seen January 3 in Cincinnati. (Megan Jelinger/Reuters)

Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin has been making "substantial progress" and there has been improvement in his condition, said Dr. Timothy Pritts, division chief of general surgery at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center.

"There's been substantial improvement in his condition over the past 24 hours," Pritts said. "We had significant concern about him after the injury and after the event that happened on the field, but he's making substantial progress."
"As of this morning, he is beginning to awaken, and it appears that his neurological condition and function is intact," he added.

“He continues to be critically ill and continues to undergo intensive care in our surgical and trauma ICU,” Pritts added.

Hamlin's road to recovery has been "long and difficult," said Dr. William Knight, a lead physician and professor of emergency medicine.

"He has been very sick and has made a fairly remarkable recovery and improvement," he said. "He is now demonstrating that sign of good neurologic recovery as well as overall clinical improvement as has been previously reported related to not just his vital signs but a lot of his other individual organ recovery."

1:37 p.m. ET, January 5, 2023

Buffalo Bills will hold first news conference since Hamlin collapse, source tells CNN

From CNN's Coy Wire

The Buffalo Bills will hold its first news conference since safety Damar Hamlin suffered a cardiac arrest on Monday night, according to a source. The news conference is expected to start at about 4:30 p.m. ET.

Head coach Sean McDermott and select players are expected to speak at Highmark Stadium in Orchard, Park, New York.

The Bills will practice on Thursday ahead of the media availability.

1:48 p.m. ET, January 5, 2023

Biden says he spoke with Damar Hamlin's family

President Joe Biden reacted to an update on Buffalo Bills player Damar Hamlin's health Thursday, referencing a conversation he had with the safety's parents.

"Great news," Biden said, retweeting a statement from the Bills from his official Twitter account. The president said he spoke with Hamlin's parents Wednesday.

View the tweet below:

1:01 p.m. ET, January 5, 2023

The NFL has not yet made a decision on Bills-Bengals game, spokesperson tells CNN

From CNN's Jacob Lev

Paycor Stadium, home of the Cincinnati Bengals, is lit with Buffalo Bills colors in support of Damar Hamlin on January 3 in downtown Cincinnati.
Paycor Stadium, home of the Cincinnati Bengals, is lit with Buffalo Bills colors in support of Damar Hamlin on January 3 in downtown Cincinnati. (Kareem Elgazzar/The Cincinnati Enquirer/AP)

The NFL has not made a decision on whether to resume the Buffalo Bills game against the Cincinnati Bengals that was postponed Monday after Damar Hamlin's collapse, NFL spokesperson Brian McCarthy told CNN Thursday. 

The NFL said it is continuing to explore a number of options. 

The game's official outcome could have implications for the league's playoffs, set to begin after this weekend's contests on Saturday and Sunday.

12:36 p.m. ET, January 5, 2023

Patriots coordinator says players have come to him to express their feelings after Hamlin's collapse

From CNN's David Close

 

New England Patriots special teams coordinator Cam Achord said players have come to him to express their feelings following the Bills’ Damar Hamlin’s on-field collapse.

“A few guys have definitely come by," Achord said when asked on Thursday if some players were having trouble processing what happened on Monday night. "We've talked about the situation and talked about life in general and kind of just got to know each other a little bit better as people.”

Achord, who has been with the team for five seasons, said Hamlin’s situation has brought the Patriots closer together.

“Getting to know everybody as people and their background and as people that really goes a long way. So, I talked about just life in general a little bit this this week, which has been really good in the aspect of getting to know the guys at the heart of their core,” he said.

The Patriots play the Bills in Buffalo on Sunday. 

12:25 p.m. ET, January 5, 2023

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick says he is heartened by latest news on Damar Hamlin

From CNN's Jill Martin

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick watches the second half of the Patriots' game against the Cincinnati Bengals on December 24 in Foxborough, Massachusetts.
New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick watches the second half of the Patriots' game against the Cincinnati Bengals on December 24 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Winslow Townson/Getty Images)

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick spoke with reporters shortly after the Buffalo Bills released an update on Damar Hamlin’s condition Thursday.

“The news from a little earlier this morning about Damar’s progress is great news and encouraging for all of us,” Belichick said.

The coach said he doesn’t typically watch Monday Night Football, except to maybe randomly flip through it. But because the Patriots’ next opponent was Buffalo, he said he had the game on at the time Hamlin collapsed.

Belichick said he addressed the situation with his team Tuesday.

“Really all I can say – really all I’m going to say – is I think everybody’s doing the best they can,” Belichick said. “That could be on a lot of different levels and a lot of different perspectives. But we’re all doing the best that we can.”

The latest on Hamlin's status: The 24-year-old player is still critically ill but has "shown remarkable improvement over the past 24 hours," the Bills said in an update shortly before Belichick's remarks Thursday.

His agent told CNN that Hamlin is awake and holding hands with his family in the hospital.