Exactly one week after Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin suffered cardiac arrest while playing against the Cincinnati Bengals on Monday Night Football, the 24-year-old has made such a remarkable recovery that he was able to get released from University of Cincinnati Medical Center.
Dr. William Knight IV said on Monday, January 9, per The Athletic. “I traveled with him to the airport this morning with our UC Health Air Care and Mobile Care crew, including teammates who were with us on the field when Damar Hamlin collapsed. He landed safely, and as standard as anybody who has gone through what he’s gone through this past week, and certainly after flying on a plane, he is going to be observed and monitored to ensure that there’s no impact from the flight on his condition or on his lungs.”
While Hamlin “still has a little bit of a ways to go in terms of his ongoing recovery,” Dr. Knight added, “He’s up, he’s walking around, he’s got an amazing, genuine sense of humor.”
After landing in Buffalo, Hamlin sent a strong message to Bills Mafia on Twitter. He tweeted, “Headed home to Buffalo today with a lot of love on my heart. 🏾 Watching the world come together around me on Sunday was truly an amazing feeling. The same love you all have shown me is the same love that I plan to put back into the world n more. Bigger than football! 🏾.”
Hamlin also gave a special shout-out to the medical staff at UC Medical. He tweeted, “Grateful for the awesome care I received at UCMC. Happy to be back in Buffalo. The docs and nurses at Buffalo General have already made me feel at home! 🏩🏾.”
The Pittsburgh alum started a new initiative to raise money for the medical professionals at UC’s Trauma Center after the Bills’ defeated the New England Patriots on Sunday, January 8. Hamlin tweeted, “We all won 🏾. I want to give back an ounce of the love y’all showed me. Proceeds of this shirt will go to first-responders and the UC Trauma Center. Go get yours!”
Hamlin ‘Set Off Every Alarm in the ICU’ While Watching the Bills Play
Considering it was just seven days ago that Hamlin was hooked up to a breathing tube and fighting for his life, for him to be healthy enough to fly home for the next stage of his recovery is nothing short of remarkable. While speaking to the media on Monday, UC Medical Center’s Dr. Timothy Pritts shared a hilarious anecdote that seemed to indicate to him that Hamlin was ready for his release.
“When the opening kickoff was run back, he jumped up and down, got out of his chair, and set every alarm off in the ICU in the process,” Dr. Pritts said, per New York Upstate. “But he was fine. It was just an appropriate reaction to a very exciting play. So he very much enjoyed it and enjoys the support from everyone.”
Bills head coach Sean McDermott is naturally thrilled to have Hamlin back in Buffalo. While McDermott said Hamlin seems a little tired during a press conference on Monday afternoon, “When you have your family nearby, it feels right. It feels better. Just better knowing he’s nearby.”
While it’s not clear if Hamlin will be able to attend Buffalo’s upcoming Wild Card playoff game — the Bills host the Miami Dolphins at Highmark Stadium on Sunday, January 15 — fans can at least expect Hamlin to cheer his teammates on via Twitter throughout the matchup.
‘It’s Too Premature’ to Discuss Hamlin’s Possible Return to Football
While there’s much to celebrate in regard to Hamlin’s recovery, it’s not yet clear if he’ll be to play football again.
“I think it’s too premature to speculate with that,” Dr. Pritts said. “He’s making great progress. His brain and neurological function is really normal. Right now it’s just a young man recovering from a very serious illness. We think that he will recover well from this and he has a great positive attitude. He originally asked who had won (the Bills-Bengals team), and his answer now to that is that we all won out of this.
“The goal for every patient who’s suffered a serious illness or injury is to help them to return as close to baseline as possible. So we anticipate that he would likely have ongoing needs, whether it is therapy or working with different specialists to get him as close to where he really can be.”
As for what caused his cardiac arrest in the first place, Hamlin will have to undergo an “ongoing series of tests and evaluations” for that to be determined, Dr. Pritts noted.