Damar Hamlin update: What we know about Buffalo Bills player's status after cardiac arrest

Editor's note: On Thursday, the Bills said Damar Hamlin has shown "remarkable improvement." For the latest on Hamlin, visit our live updates here.

Buffalo Bills player Damar Hamlin remains hospitalized in Cincinnati, after suffering cardiac arrest during a game against the Bengals on Monday night.

The Bills’ second-year safety remains in critical condition, as the team and NFL continue to provide updates as they become available.

The NFL community and fans continue to pour out their support for Hamlin as well since his horrific collapse during the game.

"I know he’s still here and I know he’s fighting," Hamlin's uncle, Dorrian Glenn, told ESPN on Tuesday night.

"And I know we appreciate all the prayers and support we’ve been getting from people all over not just the country, but the world. … It really means a difference for my family to see that and it’ll make a difference for Damar to see that as well."

Hamlin was hit in the chest during a routine play with Bengals receiver Tee Higgins. He stood up after the hit, but quickly fell backward onto the field, causing a stoppage in play. He was taken to University of Cincinnati Medical Center near the Bengals' stadium.

Buffalo Bills head coach Sean McDermott takes a knee  as Damar Hamlin is tended to on the field following a collision against the Cincinnati Bengals.

Here’s the latest information as it becomes available on Hamlin as of Wednesday:

Christian Eriksen response helped Damar Hamlin 

Dr. Jim Ellis, the NFL's medical emergency preparedness consultant, said Wednesday that the cardiac arrest of Denmark's Christian Eriksen in July 2021 during the UEFA European Championships played a minor role in the response plan that ultimately resuscitated Hamlin.  

While in England examining Wembley Stadium's preparedness, Ellis consulted with the doctors who were part of treating Eriksen.   

The response's success compelled Ellis to make a minor change to the NFL's plan: a designated leader in the event of a cardiac emergency.    

Contributing: Chris Bumbaca 

Joe Burrow says he wanted Bills players 'to know we felt the same way they did'

Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow said Wednesday he would welcome the chance to finish their game against the Buffalo Bills, but knows the challenges that could be presented as the NFL weighs the options.

“I think that would be tough, just scheduling wise,” Burrow said. “I think whatever Buffalo would want to do, we would want to do. We’re behind them 100 percent in what they want to do going forward.”

Burrow and his Bengals teammates consoled Bills players during Damar Hamlin’s health scare on the field, while Burrow and Bengals captains visited Bills players in their locker room before the game was ultimately called.

“We didn’t want to go back out there,” Burrow said. “… I wanted them to know we felt the same way they did.”

As the Bengals prepare for their next game Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens, Burrow mentioned the difficulty in switching mindsets toward anything but Hamlin.

“As unfortunate as it is, we got a game to play on Sunday. So, as unusual as this week has been, it’s business as usual from a football standpoint unfortunately,” Burrow said. “I don’t really know what to say about it: It’s such a scary, emotional time and guys still have a game to play on Sunday.”

Giants' HC Brian Daboll, GM Joe Schoen pay tribute to Hamlin with caps

New York Giants head coach Brian Daboll and general manager Joe Schoen honored Damar Hamlin with custom caps during Wednesday's practice. Their team-issued Giants hats had a No. 3, Hamlin's number, on the side.

Daboll and Schoen both came to the Giants last year from the Buffalo Bills. Daboll was the offensive coordinator while Schoen served as assistant general manager.

"A lot of us have been around Damar, we offer our prayers to him, to his family, to the people in that organization," Daboll said in his Wednesday press conference. "They've been through a lot and this is tragic. It's tragic to see. I feel for Damar most importantly, his family, but all the players and coaches that are around him every day. He's a tremendous young man. And just pray for recovery. That was tough."

Contributing: Victoria Hernandez

Colts' Rodney Thomas visits high school teammate in hospital: 'He's a fighter' 

Hamlin and Thomas were teammates at Central Catholic High School in Pittsburgh and quickly became best friends. Thomas said they talked every day, even before the Bills' Monday Night Football matchup against Cincinnati. 

Thomas watched the game from home in Indiana, like so many others, and made the decision to drive more than 100 miles from Indianapolis to Cincinnati to see Hamlin following his injury. 

"I knew where I was going, so I just got on the road and I just went. Laser-focused," Thomas said Wednesday during a press conference.  

Thomas said he visited Hamlin in the hospital, held his hand and talked to him again, though Hamlin remains sedated and on a ventilator. 

"I know he could hear me. Even if he couldn't hear me, it didn't matter. I said what I had to say," Thomas said. "I could go home and know he's gonna be straight, I got him, we all got him, everybody's behind him. You see what's going on, everybody's behind him."

Thomas described Hamlin as "the most genuine person you could come across," adding that his "character, his work ethic, his hard work, his giving" made Hamlin a hometown hero before he was a household name. 

"And when he walks out of there and he sees the support he has, it's going to be a real special day," Thomas said. "He's a fighter. No other thought in my mind of him walking out under his own power."

Contributing: Cydney Henderson

President Joe Biden speaks to Hamlin's parents

President Joe Biden told reporters Wednesday that he spoke to the mother and father of injured Bills safety Damar Hamlin “at length” but did not elaborate on the conversation.

Biden visited the Greater Cincinnati region on Wednesday for the Brent Spence Bridge project. Biden was asked if he thought football was getting too dangerous after what happened to Hamlin.

"No," Biden replied, per Bloomberg News. "Look, the idea that you're going to have—you've got guys that are 6'8, 340 pounds ... if you hit somebody—and that's not what happened here, but I just think it's—I don't know how you avoid it.”

Contributing: Joseph Garrison

NFL discussing Bills-Bengals game 

The NFL, in a conference call Wednesday, said it has begun discussions regarding the continuation of the Bills-Bengals game that was ended abruptly after Damar Hamlin’s incident.

“Obviously we are going to have to make a decision on that in the coming days, and we will,” NFL executive vice president of communications, public affairs and policy Jeff Miller said.

There also have not been any discussions yet on postponing the Bills’ next game, which is against the New England Patriots.

The same was said about the idea of pushing the NFL season back a week to ensure all games are played or to go with an imbalanced schedule if the Bills-Bengals game isn’t played.

“Everything is being considered,” NFL executive vice president of football operations Troy Vincent said.

Vincent said all conversations he has had with the Bills organization have been focused on Hamlin and other members of the franchise dealing with the situation.

The league has not made any changes to the Week 18 regular-season schedule. The Bengals will host the Ravens, while the Bills host the Patriots, both set for 1 p.m. Sunday.

Pacers guard T.J. McConnell wears Hamlin jersey to game

Widespread support for Damar Hamlin continued from the sports world on Wednesday as Pittsburgh native T.J. McConnell, a guard for the NBA’s Indiana Pacers, arrived to his game wearing a Hamlin Bills jersey.

“I just wanted to show support for a fellow Pittsburgh native and athlete, and let him and his family know that all of us here are thinking of him and praying for him,” McConnell said via the Pacers.

Zac Taylor praises medical professionals, shows support for Hamlin

In his first public comments since the Bills vs. Bengals Monday night game was suspended, Taylor praised all the medical professionals involved in tending to Hamlin and extended his well wishes to the Bills safety.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with Damar Hamlin, his family, loved ones, his teammates, coaches and the entire Bills organization,” Taylor said. “We are certainly pulling for Damar and hoping for the most positive outlook. And looking forward to him seeing all the support that he’s getting from his team, community, people around the league and his family. That will be a great day when he’s able to see that.”

Taylor continued to offer praise to the first responders. 

"I thought they were on it, they were composed," Taylor said of the medical professionals. "From me personally, seeing the composure from everybody down there had, obviously not knowing how the situation was gonna unfold, I was led to believe it was gonna be positive because of how they handled it."

ESPN cameras captured Taylor and Bills coach Sean McDermott talking on multiple occasions while the game was temporarily suspended. Taylor didn’t disclose what was said in its entirety but did reveal that the focus wasn’t on football once Hamlin was rushed to the hospital.

“When got over there, the first thing (Sean McDermott) said is I need to be at the hospital with Damar. I shouldn’t be coaching this game. That to me provides all the clarity,” Taylor said. “In that moment he really showed who he was. All his focus was just on Damar, being there for him, being there for his family at the hospital. At that point everything trended where it needed to trend. The right decisions were made there.”

Hamlin shows signs of improvement

Damar Hamlin remains in the ICU in critical condition with signs of improvement noted Tuesday and overnight. He is expected to remain under intensive care, the Bills said on Twitter around 1:30 p.m. ET on Wednesday. 

In two announcements on Tuesday, the Bills said Hamlin suffered a cardiac arrest and his heartbeat was restored on the field before he was transported to a medical facility. He spent Monday night in intensive care, and remained in critical condition.

"We are grateful and thankful for the outpouring of support we have received thus far," the Bills said.

Hamlin's recovery moving in 'positive direction'

Damar Hamlin's family is cautiously optimistic as he begins his second full day in intensive care at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center. 

Hamlin's marketing rep, Jordon Rooney, told ESPN that although Hamlin was still sedated and in critical condition Wednesday morning, doctors got promising readings overnight and progress appears to be made.

"We all remain optimistic," Rooney told The Associated Press, noting that Hamlin's recovery was progressing in "a positive direction." The family has requested that no further details on Hamlin's condition were to be released to the public.

Former teammate buys dinner for Hamlin family, hospital personnel

Minnesota Vikings defensive lineman Harrison Phillips, who played four seasons with the Bills, on Wednesday bought dinner for Damar Hamlin’s family, the Buffalo Bills training staff who are with him, and the doctors and nurses working on the ICU floor at University of Cincinnati Medical Center.  

Phillips is also collecting donations through his foundation, Harrison’s Playmakers, to hold a future event in Hamlin’s honor.

Damar Hamlin’s toy drive donations top $6 million

As of Tuesday night, more than $6 million have been donated to a GoFundMe page Hamlin started to raise money for a toy drive in his hometown near Pittsburgh.

Donations began to flood in following his injury during the "Monday Night Football" game.

"A lot of people don’t get to see how loved they are while they're alive, so for him to have a situation where he could have been taken away and he has a chance to come back and see all that love that he got, it’s truly an amazing thing," Hamlin's uncle told NFL Network of the outpouring of donations. 

"I can’t wait to see all the love and support people have for him."

Damar Hamlin’s uncle expresses concern

Hamlin remains sedated and on a ventilator in the intensive care unit, his uncle said in another interview with NFL Network. Hamlin was also resuscitated at least one time.

"It was pretty scary to see that," Glenn told ESPN reporter Coley Harvey outside the medical center. "It was really scary." 

Glenn said he was watching the game with family members in Pittsburgh. Once the game was suspended, he said family members filled two cars to drive to Cincinnati, about 300 miles away.

"I’ve never seen a game get stopped like that. I’ve never seen a collection of grown men cry like that unless it was a funeral," Hamlin’s uncle told ESPN. 

"So, it was impactful to see that. My heart will go out no matter who it was, but for it to be my nephew, it was chilling."

Bills fans gather outside Buffalo’s stadium

Buffalo Bills fans gathered outside Highmark Stadium in Orchard Park, New York, on Tuesday afternoon for a prayer vigil for Hamlin.

Jill Kelly, wife of Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly, attended and was seen hugging Bills fans.

Cincinnati Reds, Miami Dolphins among teams paying tribute to Damar Hamlin

The Cincinnati Reds, whose stadium Great American Ballpark is less than a mile from the Bengals’ Paycor Stadium where the incident occurred, provided a scoreboard tribute for Hamlin on Tuesday.

Drivers passing by the Reds’ home stadium saw "Prayers for Damar Hamlin" with a photo of Hamlin with a background in Bills’ blue.

The Miami Dolphins, one of Buffalo’s heated AFC East rivals, also honored Hamlin by lighting up Hard Rock Stadium in red and blue Bills colors.

"The entire @MiamiDolphins family is with you @HamlinIsland and @BuffaloBills  #billsmafia," Dolphins CEO Tom Garfinkel posted on Twitter.

What is cardiac arrest? 

The NFL confirmed to USA TODAY an AED (automated external defibrillator) was used on the field before Hamlin's heartbeat was restored.

He was then transferred to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center for further testing and treatment as he was sedated and clinging to life.

But what is cardiac arrest, and how might it have happened to Hamlin?

NFL shows solidarity with Damar Hamlin tribute

The NFL and all 32 teams changed their Twitter profile pictures, removing their respective team logos and replacing it with a dedication to Hamlin.

The words "Pray for Damar" resting on top of the number three, which is Hamlin’s jersey number, in Buffalo Bills colors made the rounds on Twitter on Tuesday afternoon.

Damar Hamlin’s family issues statement

On Tuesday, Hamlin's family released a statement, saying "your generosity and compassion mean the world to us."

"We are deeply moved by the prayers, kind words, and donations from fans around the country," the statement said. "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."

Pat Narduzzi: Damar Hamlin 'a hero to thousands of Pittsburgh kids'

University of Pittsburgh football head coach Pat Narduzzi, whom Hamlin played for from 2016-2020, showed his support for his former player in a statement released Tuesday.

"Damar Hamlin is far more than just a football player. He’s a loving son, brother and friend. Damar is a hero to thousands of Pittsburgh kids," Narduzzi tweeted. 

"Damar, we love you. We are praying for you. Pittsburgh’s always had your back. And now it’s obvious the entire country has your back, too."

NFL, ESPN conflict on fluid game situation

During the game broadcast, ESPN announcer Joe Buck relayed that both teams would have five minutes to warm up and resume play. This happened before both teams left the field into their locker rooms, and the game was ultimately stopped.

NFL Executive Vice President of Football Operations Troy Vincent said Bills and Bengals players were "traumatized" by what they witnessed on the field, and both teams were in alignment about not finishing Monday’s game.

"I’m not sure where that came from. Five minutes, warm-up, that never, never crossed my mind, personally," Vincent said in a conference call after the game Monday. "And I was the one – I'm saying 'I' not to be selfish, but the one that was communicating with the commissioner. It never crossed our mind to talk about warming up to resume play. That's ridiculous. That's insensitive, and that’s not a place that we should ever be in."

In a statement Tuesday, ESPN said: "There was constant communication in real time between ESPN and league and game officials. As a result of that, we reported what we were told in the moment and immediately updated fans as new information was learned. This was an unprecedented, rapidly-evolving circumstance. All night long, we refrained from speculation."

Joe Buck told the New York Post that the information came from ESPN's rules expert John Parry, who was in communication with the league (and was actually the one who relayed the news that the game had been temporarily suspended).

Contributing: Casey Moore, Steve Gardner