UPDATED 1/5/23 11:46 PM: The NFL announced on Thursday that the Week 17 game between the Buffalo Bills and the Cincinnati Bengals would “not be resumed” following Damar Hamlin’s collapse on Monday. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell was the one to make the call on Jan. 5. He reassured the clubs that not resuming Monday’s game would have “no effect on which clubs qualify for the postseason” and that “no club would qualify for the postseason and no club will be eliminated based on the outcome of this game.”
If the game was resumed, it would mean having to postpone the start of the playoffs by one week, affecting all “14 clubs that qualify for postseason play.” As a result of Thursday’s decision, there will be a “Special League Meeting” on Jan. 6 to consider a possible resolution. Fans can see all possible playoff scenarios HERE.
Roger also noted the vicissitudes that this week presented. “This has been a very difficult week,” he said. “We continue to focus on the recovery of Damar Hamlin and are encouraged by the improvements in his condition as well as the tremendous outpouring of support and care for Damar and his family from across the country. We are also incredibly appreciative of the amazing work of the medical personnel and commend each and every one of them.”
ORIGINAL STORY: Damar Hamlin is “making steady progress” in recovery from his terrifying collapse on the field during a game earlier in the week, his doctor Dr. Timothy Pritts, MD shared via the Buffalo Bills on Instagram on Thursday, January 5. His doctor confirmed that Hamlin can communicate in writing, and that the doctors told him he’d “won at the game of life” after Damar asked who had won the game on Monday evening that he was playing in.
The doctor also commended the staff who rushed to Damar’s aid at the game. “We can’t say enough about the quick actions of the Bills training staff and the physicians who were on the field,” he said. “It’s not only that the lights are on. We know that Damar is home,” he also said. Dr. William Knight IV, MD said that Damar has been “moving his hands and feet,” and that it’s the “best outcome for him to return to who he was before this happened.
ESPN reporter Cole Harvey shared updates from doctors regarding Damar’s progress in a series of tweets on Thursday afternoon. He said that doctors told him that last night the safety woke up and responded to questions with a pen and paper and asked who won the game, where he collapsed. “Yes, you won. You won at the game of life,” he said they responded.
Doctors are clarifying that he did not speak, but was communicating with a pen in writing. And they answered Damar: “Yes, you won. You won at the game of life.”
— Coley Harvey (@ColeyHarvey) January 5, 2023
Coley also tweeted that the player held hands with many people in the room, and he wrote that his future in the NFL was still unclear. “Doctors say it’s truly too early to have the conversation about Damar Hamlin’s future in football. They do say the next big milestone they’re pushing for is getting Damar to breathe on his own,” he wrote.
Earlier on Thursday, the Buffalo Bills gave an update on the safety’s condition, saying that his doctors at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center said that he’s made many improvements in a statement on Twitter on January 5.
— Buffalo Bills (@BuffaloBills) January 5, 2023
The team revealed that physicians said that the player, 24, has shown positive signs of recovery during his stay at the hospital. “Damar has shown remarkable improvement over the past 24 hours. While still critically ill, he has demonstrated that he appears to be neurologically intact. His lungs continue to heal and he is making steady progress,” they said.
The NFL organization concluded with a word of thanks for fans keeping the player in their thoughts and prayers. “We are grateful for the love and support we have received,” they wrote.
Damar was hospitalized minutes into the Bills’ game against the Cincinnati Bengals on Monday, January 2. He collapsed on the field after he was tackled. Paramedics performed CPR on him for 10 minutes, and he was taken to the hospital in an ambulance. After the game, the team revealed that he’d gone into cardiac arrest and was in critical condition and sedated following the hospitalization.
The day after the game, Damar’s uncle gave another update on his health and said that his nephew had been “resuscitated twice” and was “trending upward” in an interview with News84Media. Damar’s friend and family’s representative Jordan Rooney also spoke about his condition during an interview with Good Morning America. “What I can say is he’s fighting. He’s a fighter,” he said. “He was awake [earlier], and now he’s sedated. So, the family’s in good spirits. We’re honestly just taking it minute-by-minute, hour-by-hour.”
After Damar collapsed on the field, he received an outpouring of support from his teammates and other players from throughout the world of sports. Bills QB Josh Allen asked for fans to support the player in a tweet. “Please pray for our brother,” he wrote. Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Tom Brady also shared his well-wishes for Damar on Twitter. “We’re praying for Damar and his family this morning in Tampa. Moments like this put into perspective what it means to play this game we love,” he wrote.
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