Excellent news continues to emerge about Damar Hamlin.
The Bills have shared that the 24-year-old safety no longer requires a breathing tube.
“Per the physicians at UCMC, Damar’s breathing tube was removed overnight. He continues to progress remarkably in his recovery,” the Bills announced on Friday. “His neurologic function remains intact and he has been able to talk to his family and care team.”
The doctors caring for Hamlin said in a press conference Thursday that having the breathing tube removed would be the next big step in his recovery.
“There are many steps still ahead of him. We’d like to see him continue to improve and breathing on his won, then to be ready to be discharged from the hospital,” Dr. Timothy Pritts said. “His family has been with him at his bedside and members of the Bills organization and we’d really like to get him home to them. Those are immediate next steps and then we will plan for the future.”
NFL Network reported Hamlin was talking to his teammates via FaceTime, first individually and then as a group.
Hamlin suffered cardiac arrest during Monday night’s game against the Bengals, collapsing on the field after making a tackle on Cincinnati wide receiver Tee Higgins. He was administered CPR and resuscitated before being transported by ambulance to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center.
After two days of vague updates, it was announced on Thursday that Hamlin woke up. His first communication, in writing, was to ask if the Bills won the game. The doctors told him that he won the game of life.
In a Thursday press conference, Bills quarterback Josh Allen told reporters that Hamlin and his father, Mario, want the team to “charge forward.”
“Mario [was] talking to the team, and the things he told to us — he demanded us — you can’t not honor his request to go out there and charge forward to the best of our abilities,” Allen said. “Obviously we’ll be playing with less heavy hearts now. Today’s news brought us tears of joy. But to know that that’s what he wants, that’s what his dad wants, I think guys are excited to get out there.”
The game between the Bengals and Bills, which carried heavy implications for the top seed in the AFC, was called off and will not be resumed. Instead, the league is voting Friday whether to adopt a neutral site for the AFC championship game under various circumstances where the outcome of the canceled game would have swung the seedings.
The Bills host the Patriots on Sunday afternoon.