January 6, 2023 news on NFL star Damar Hamlin's condition

By Leinz Vales, Adrienne Vogt, Matt Meyer and Tori B. Powell, CNN

Updated 8:10 PM ET, Fri January 6, 2023
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2:28 p.m. ET, January 6, 2023

"What would you want someone to do for your son?" Bills GM describes staying in Cincinnati with Hamlin

Buffalo Bills general manager Brandon Beane answers questions from the media during the NFL Scouting Combine on March 1, at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Buffalo Bills general manager Brandon Beane answers questions from the media during the NFL Scouting Combine on March 1, at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire/Getty Images)

Buffalo Bills general manager Brandon Beane, who remained in Cincinnati until Tuesday night with Damar Hamlin, said he had simple reasoning for staying behind.

“What would you want someone to do for your son?” said Beane, who has two boys himself. 

Beane said he and head coach Sean McDermott decided Monday night that the general manager would stay in Cincinnati while McDermott would stay with the team.

Beane said the coach wanted to stay with Hamlin as well, but the two leaders had only minutes to decide and opted to divide up leadership duties. McDermott needed to lead the coaches and team because they didn’t know how long the hospitalization would last, the general manager explained.

Beane said he learned more about Hamlin through time spent with his family and friends, especially the safety's parents.

“Mario and Nina (Hamlin), just being near them these last few days, they should put a handbook together on how to deal with a life-threatening situation with your child,” Beane said Friday. “I was in awe just watching their strength through such difficult up and down moments, and it was a pleasure to be a part and to see how they handled it. I don’t believe I would have handled it with the same strength if that was my son.”

He also said he was impressed with the medical team, including their bedside manner — providing hugs and also having tears in their eyes.

Beane, who is now back in Orchard Park, New York, said he was sad he wouldn’t be there when Hamlin walks out of the hospital.

He later added that he will “forever remember this team” and that he’s not sure if he’ll ever be more proud of a team than this one.

12:21 p.m. ET, January 6, 2023

Bills general manager praises league-wide support for Damar Hamlin: "The NFL is a true family"

From CNN's Kevin Dotson

Buffalo Bills General Manager Brandon Beane voiced his appreciation Friday for the support from across the NFL community over the past week in the wake of the life-threatening injury to safety Damar Hamlin.

"I think, as I mentioned earlier, it says a lot about our league that we're all competitive and we're all trying to win every single thing, trying to win the draft, trying to win games, and ultimately trying to a championship fighting against each other,” Beane said. “This week every team changed their logo on their social media page to pray for Damar, I don't think I've ever seen that."

"And, yeah we go to battle, but in the end life is the number-one battle, and to see that unity from players, coaches, GMs, owners, fans is unheard of. But I think it's a good light, it sheds a great light on the NFL. The NFL is truly a family," he added.

Beane also gave a preview of the team’s plans for Sunday’s game against the Patriots.

“As far as this weekend, we’re working on things. We definitely have the (jersey) patch, and try and honor some of the people that helped keep Damar alive and their roles. We do have some various things, we’re still talking through the exactly run of show, but I think it’s going to be a nice deal,” he said, making a reference to the Bills wearing jerseys with patches of Hamlin's number on them.

12:01 p.m. ET, January 6, 2023

NFL outlines plan for league-wide gestures in support of Damar Hamlin this weekend

As Damar Hamlin continues his recovery in a Cincinnati hospital, the NFL's final slate of regular season games will take place Saturday and Sunday.

CNN reported Thursday that the league had plans to recognize Hamlin's situation on and off the field this weekend, and the NFL outlined those gestures in a news release Friday.

They will include:

  • Pre-game moments of support: The NFL shared a public address announcement that each home stadium will be encouraged to read prior to the national anthem "as a unified show of support for Damar, the first responders and medical caregivers."
  • Field painting: All clubs, both home and away, can outline Hamlin's No. 3 in each 30-yard line marker on the field, using either Buffalo Bills red or blue.
  • Pre-game shirts: During warm-ups, all players throughout the league will have the option to wear black t-shirts displaying "Love for Damar 3." The Bills will wear a similar shirt but in the team's royal blue, and Bills football personnel will don hats embroidered with a No. 3.
  • Jersey patches: Patches with Hamlin's No. 3 will be worn by the Buffalo Bills during Week 18 action.

The Bills shared a photo of their No. 3 patches on Twitter shortly after the NFL released its plans:

11:55 a.m. ET, January 6, 2023

Bills leaders praise unsung heroes of Hamlin response

From CNN's Kevin Dotson

Buffalo Bills head coach Sean McDermott and general manager Brandon Beane praised the team’s medical staff and gave an update on their roles in caring for Damar Hamlin on Friday.

McDermott said Beane and head athletic trainer Nate Breske have returned to the team from Cincinnati, while assistant athletic trainer Tabani Richards remains with Hamlin at the hospital.

Beane reiterated his coach’s praise of the Bills’ medical staff.

“The Bills medical team, the guys who have been mentioned led by Nate Breske, Denny (Kellington) is obviously trending on Twitter, which is good for him,” Beane said, with a chuckle. “Tabani is back there, and all those guys, our docs did a great job."

“One person that probably hasn’t been mentioned is Kori (Reblin), one of our equipment guys who had to get there and get his facemask off so they could work on him, and not easy when you see the situation Damar’s in," Beane told reporters.

Speaking about Kellington’s sudden celebrity status after he performed life-saving CPR on Hamlin, McDermott said he heard a show host on a country music radio station talking about the Bills assistant trainer during his commute Friday morning. He said he shared a laugh with Kellington about that at the team facility.

11:21 a.m. ET, January 6, 2023

Bills head coach says players stood up and clapped for Hamlin when they saw him on FaceTime

From CNN's Jillian Martin

Buffalo Bills head coach Sean McDermott says players were told there was a treat in store for them Friday — and when Damar Hamlin showed up on FaceTime, “they stood up right away and clapped for him,” McDermott told reporters.

McDermott was also asked about the task of getting his team locked in for Sunday’s game against the New England Patriots.

“We’ve been working on that,” McDermott said. “There’s different waves or hurdles we need to continue to cross as we inch toward the game here, and it is coming fast.”

He added that the number-one priority is the health and well-being of his players.

11:19 a.m. ET, January 6, 2023

"I don’t like how he went down": CNN obtains audio from the moment Hamlin collapsed

From CNN’s Sara Smart, Sharif Paget and Jamiel Lynch

CNN has obtained audio of medical personnel that were working the sidelines at the time Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin collapsed at 8:55 p.m. ET on Monday night.

Medical personnel can be heard calling for everybody to assist and saying, “I don’t like how he went down” and “bring the cot with the medics.”

At 9:12 p.m. ET, a person can be heard asking for another medic to assist in the back of the ambulance.

At 9:20 p.m. ET, calls for an end-tidal carbon dioxide monitor can be heard, along with a sense of urgency for the driver of the ambulance to “step it up.”

Listen to the audio here:

11:26 a.m. ET, January 6, 2023

Bills say Hamlin's breathing tube was removed and he's been able to talk with family and doctors

Damar Hamlin walks off the field during a game against the Pittsburgh Steelers on October 9, 2022 in New York.
Damar Hamlin walks off the field during a game against the Pittsburgh Steelers on October 9, 2022 in New York. (Bryan Bennett/Getty Images)

The Buffalo Bills tweeted that Damar Hamlin's breathing tube was removed overnight, according to doctors, and he's been able to talk with his family and health care providers.

"He continues to progress remarkably in his recovery," the team said.

The Bills said that Hamlin joined a team meeting via FaceTime and was able talk to players and coaches. “Love you boys,” he told the team.

9:40 a.m. ET, January 6, 2023

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

Damar Hamlin warms up prior to the game between the Buffalo Bills and the Cincinnati Bengals on January 2, in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Damar Hamlin warms up prior to the game between the Buffalo Bills and the Cincinnati Bengals on January 2, in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Ian Johnson/Icon Sportswire/Getty Images)

University of Cincinatti 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.

9:00 a.m. ET, January 6, 2023

Buffalo Bills player describes what it'll be like to play this weekend

From CNN's Jill Martin

Buffalo Bills offensive lineman Dion Dawkins told CNN on Friday that the team getting to hear from Damar Hamlin’s father on a video call earlier this week “took a whole bunch of weight off our shoulders.” 

“Seeing his father’s expression on his face, it was just honestly all we needed to see to take a giant step forward,” Dawkins told CNN’s Don Lemon.

Dawkins was asked if he thought the Bills would be ready to play this weekend. Here's what he said:

“It’ll be so hard to speak for everybody, but I know that in the position that they have put us in, and from the messages that we’re getting back, and the responses that we’re getting from Cincinnati and his family, it’s putting us in a great arrow of direction ... That’s honestly all we can ask for is just to be faced in the right direction and to just do it with high hopes. … (Head coach Sean) McDermott and the staff here, they’ve been doing such a great job of respecting the individual’s personal battles because we’re all going through personal battles with this situation.”