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Hamlin shows ‘remarkable improvement’ after collapse in NFL game

Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin has shown “remarkable improvement” and is awake and communicating, three days after suffering cardiac arrest during an NFL game, the team and doctors said.

Hamlin, a defensive back, collapsed after taking a hard hit in the chest while tackling Cincinnati Bengals receiver Tee Higgins during the first quarter of the nationally televised game in Cincinnati.

“It’s been a long and difficult road for the last three days,” Physician William Knight said, adding that Hamlin “has made a pretty remarkable improvement”.

He said further testing would be necessary, when Hamlin is able, to determine what caused the cardiac arrest.

“It’s not only that the lights are on, but we know that he’s home,” doctor Timothy Pritts of the University of Cincinnati Medical Center said in a video news conference. “It appears that all cylinders are firing within his brain.”

Hamlin remains in critical condition on a ventilator and is unable to speak, but he has been able to communicate in writing, Pritts said.

When the 24-year-old player first woke up, he asked whether the Bills won Monday’s game against the Bengals in Cincinnati — a contest that was called off after Hamlin’s terrifying collapse and subsequent efforts to revive him on the field.

“The answer is yes, Damar, you won the game of life,” Pritts said.

READ MORE: NFL player Damar Hamlin in critical condition after hard tackle

‘Extremely grateful’

Most of the Bills players and staff have been waiting anxiously back in Buffalo for news on Hamlin’s progress.

“I’m just extremely grateful,” McDermott said of the outpouring of support from other teams, fans and the league, noting especially the reaction of Bengals coach Zac Taylor during the crisis.

Medical staff who found he didn’t have a pulse restored Hamlin’s heartbeat on the field using manual CPR and defibrillators, and he was hospitalized in critical condition.

Players and personnel from both teams were clearly stunned, with some crying and praying as doctors treated him.

The NFL announced on Thursday that it was cancelling the Bills-Bengals game, saying the decision came after consultation with both teams and the NFL players’ union.

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