A scary and emotional scene unfolded early during Monday night's game between the Bills and Bengals. With 5:58 remaining in the first quarter, Bills safety Damar Hamlin collapsed seconds after tackling Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins. He received immediate medical attention on the field and was transported to the UC Medical Center in Cincinnati. Hamlin, 24, suffered a cardiac arrest following the hit with his heartbeat restored on the field, the Bills announced in a statement early Tuesday morning.
Hamlin remains in critical condition, but he has taken positive strides. On Thursday, the Bills released an update from the physicians caring for Hamlin at the UC Medical Center, saying he has shown "remarkable improvement over the past 24 hours" and "has demonstrated that he appears to be neurologically intact." His lungs are continuing to heal and is making steady progress.
Buffalo does plan to practice for the first time Thursday since the incident on Monday night.
CBS Sports NFL Insider Jonathan Jones also confirmed Mario Hamlin, Damar's father, addressed the team on Wednesday night to relay a positive update on this son.
The frightening event sent shockwaves through not only the sports world, but the world at large. This week, U.S. President Joe Biden even spoke with Hamlin's mother and father, via Bloomberg News.
In lockstep with that latest update from the Bills was a statement from Hamlin's agency, Agency 1 Sports, thanking those who have sent well wishes his way.
The outpouring of support for Damar across the nation has been amazing. Thank you for the calls, messages, and emails. Damar has made substantial improvement overnight. We are so thankful for all of the first responders, doctors, and hospital staff and everyone who has played a role in this process.
Please continue to pray for Damar and we will provide updates as they are available.
The "Monday Night Football" matchup between Buffalo and Cincinnati was officially postponed by the NFL shortly after 10 p.m. ET. It is currently unclear how the NFL plans to resume that game between these two clubs or not. Week 18 is expected to be play as scheduled.
Hamlin received CPR on the field for several minutes while being placed on a stretcher and eventually into an ambulance. He was given oxygen upon entering the ambulance, which transported him and some family members to the hospital.
On Tuesday morning, family spokesperson Jordon Rooney provided an update on Hamlin: "I can't speak specifically on his medical condition. All I'll say is, he's fighting. He's a fighter. ... The family's in good spirits. We're honestly just taking it minute-by-minute, hour-by-hour. ... What's most important is to give the family their privacy. ... His family is going through a lot right now."
Hamlin's family issued the following press release late Tuesday morning:
"On behalf of our family, we want to express our sincere gratitude for the love and support shown to Damar during this challenging time. We are deeply moved by the prayers, kind words and donations from fans around the country.
"We also want to acknowledge the dedicated first responders and healthcare professionals at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center who have provided exceptional care to Damar. We feel so blessed to be part of the Buffalo Bills organization and to have their support. We also want to thank Coach Taylor and the Bengals for everything they've done.
"Your generosity and compassion mean the world to us. Please keep Damar in your prayers. We will release updates as soon as we have them."
Monday's game was temporarily suspended after coaches Sean McDermott of the Bills and Zac Taylor of the Bengals spoke on the field. About an hour later, the NFL decided to postpone the game. It chose not to address a potential rescheduling of the game in a media call late Monday night. That decision will ultimately rest in the hands of commissioner Roger Goodell.
The Bills decided to fly back to Buffalo early Tuesday morning. Numerous members of the Bills and Bengals visited the hospital late Monday night.
On Tuesday afternoon, the Bills released the following statement:
Damar Hamlin spent last night in the intensive care unit and remains there today in critical condition at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center.
We are grateful and thankful for the outpouring of support we have received thus far.
Around 11:30 p.m. ET Monday, Hamlin's agent, Ira Turner, provided a statement to NFL Media: "Please continue to pray for Damar and his family. We currently have no update at this time. Will ask that you keep the family in your prayers."
Hamlin is in the middle of his second season with the Bills. He earned a spot in Buffalo's starting lineup this season after appearing in 14 games as a rookie. Hamlin played collegiately at Pittsburgh, where he tallied 276 tackles and six interceptions.
Hamlin's character and work ethic led to him making the Bills' 53-man roster as a rookie despite being a Day 3 draft pick. That same work ethic helped him become a starter this season.
"Damar's done a great job," Bills GM Brandon Beane said of Hamlin during his rookie training camp. "He's a very instinctive player. ... He's a great kid, he wants it, he's working hard and he's giving himself every chance to put himself in the mix despite being a sixth-round pick."
Please share this video. It’s been going around. This is Damar Hamlin and his toy drive charity. His gofundme has raised over $700,000 tonight. 🙏🙏🙏 pic.twitter.com/zzSQkGpbYQ— JR_1997🏒🥃 (@jacobrotenberg) January 3, 2023
Bengals owner Mike Brown released a statement, offering support and commenting on how everyone in the stadium handled the "unprecedented" and scary scene.
A statement from Bengals owner, Mike Brown. pic.twitter.com/FfUCrgSnWQ— Cincinnati Bengals (@Bengals) January 3, 2023
Hamlin's injury has led to an outpouring of emotion and support throughout the sports world. Every NFL team has offered their thoughts via social media. Scores of players have also voiced their support for Hamlin and his Buffalo teammates.
CBS Sports will provide more information on Hamlin as soon as it is made available.