Buffalo Bills player Damar Hamlin has been fired from a medical facility in Buffalo, his club said Wednesday, after more than a week in hospital due to a cardiac arrest he suffered during a “Monday Night Football” match this month.
The safety of Bills, 24, had shown signs of accelerated improvement in the days before his release from Buffalo General Medical Center in New York, hospital officials said.
“We have completed a series of tests and evaluations, and in consultation with team physicians, we are confident that Damar can be safely released to continue his rehabilitation at home and with the Bills,” a statement said. Hamlin’s medical officer in charge of care in Buffalo, Dr. Jamie Nadler, the Bills said in a statement posted to Twitter on Wednesday.
Hamlin was first hospitalized in Cincinnati when his heart suddenly stopped after a tackle in a game against host Cincinnati Bengals on Jan. 2, but was moved to the Buffalo facility on Monday after doctors determined that his critical condition had improved enough for the move.
Doctors at Buffalo Hospital were trying to determine why Hamlin suffered the cardiac arrest, said Kaleida Health, the group of hospitals that includes Buffalo Medical Center, before he was discharged. This included whether pre-existing conditions played a part in the event, which shocked many across the country and sparked a huge outpouring of support for the sophomore NFL player.
On Tuesday, Hamlin underwent “a full medical evaluation as well as a series of cardiac, neurological and vascular tests,” the Bills said on Twitter.
No cause for Hamlin’s cardiac arrest has been publicly announced.
“Special thanks to Buffalo General, it’s been nothing but love since he arrived! Keep me in your prayers please! Hamlin tweeted on Tuesday.
It will be up to Hamlin to decide when he is with the team again while he recovers, Bills coach Sean McDermott said Wednesday.
“I’m grateful first and foremost that he’s home with his parents and his brother, which is great,” McDermott told reporters on Wednesday as the Bills prepared to host the Miami Dolphins for a playoff game on Sunday. No timetable for Hamlin’s return to professional football has been announced.
“We will leave (when he is around the team) to him. His health is first and foremost on our minds regarding his situation and when he feels ready we will welcome him back,” McDermott said.
While in critical condition in Cincinnati, Hamlin was sedated and put on a ventilator for days. On Friday morning, the breathing tube was removed and Hamlin began walking with assistance that afternoon, his doctors said Monday.
The health care team focused on stabilizing Hamlin and improving his condition on Monday because his organ systems were stable and he no longer required intensive care or respiratory therapy, said the doctors.
“He is certainly on what we consider to be a very normal or even accelerated trajectory since the life-threatening event he suffered,” said Dr. Timothy Pritts, chief of surgery at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, earlier this week. “He’s making great progress.”
Normal recovery from cardiac arrest can be measured in weeks or months, Pritts said Monday. Hamlin had beaten that timeline every step of the way and is neurologically intact.
When Hamlin collapsed seconds after an open field tackle against a Bengals wide receiver, medical personnel rushed to the field and administered CPR quickly – which helped save his life.
Hamlin’s heart had stopped and medical responders kickstarted him twice before putting him in an ambulance and taking him to hospital. The immediate actions of medical personnel were vital to “not only save his life, but his neurological function,” Pritts said.
The gruesome scene of Hamlin suddenly falling on his back after getting up after the tackle unsettled his teammates, fellow players and millions of fans.
The game was initially postponed and later canceled by the NFL – a move several former football players said signaled a shift in the priority given to players’ mental and physical health.
Today, the Bills organization encourages people to learn the essential and life-saving skill of administering CPR.
The team is committed to supporting resources including CPR certifications, automated external defibrillation units and guidance for developing cardiac emergency response plans within the Buffalo community, according to the communicated. “We encourage all of our fans to continue to show your support and take the next step by becoming CPR certified,” the Bills said.