Damar Hamlin update: As the Bills player remains in critical condition, Colts’ Rodney Thomas II details his bedside hospital visit

Damar Hamlin update: As the Bills player remains in critical condition, Colts’ Rodney Thomas II details his bedside hospital visit


While Buffalo Bills punter Damar Hamlin remains in critical condition after suffering a mid-game cardiac arrest, his childhood friend and high school teammate, Indianapolis Colts safety Rodney Thomas II, says there is no doubt in my mind that Hamlin will recover.

Thomas drove directly to the hospital where Hamlin was being treated Monday night, where he said Hamlin was lying comfortably after being carted off the field during the Bills’ game against the Cincinnati Bengals.

“I know he could hear me,” Thomas said speaking to reporters on Wednesday. He said he was able to be in the room with Hamlin and hold his hand. “Even if he couldn’t hear me, it didn’t matter. I said what I had to say.”

The pair, who became close friends while high school teammates in Pittsburgh, spoke daily and had spoken earlier Monday before Hamlin’s fall.

“It calmed me down a lot,” Thomas said looking at his friend. “It made the journey home much easier. I can go home and know that he will be right. I got it. We all got it. Everyone is behind him.”

Hamlin remains in intensive care at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center after collapsing during the first quarter of Monday night’s game, although he has shown “signs of improvement,” his team said in a statement Wednesday.

His heartbeat was restored on the field, the Bills have said, before he was carried from the stadium in an ambulance as stunned and visibly emotional players and fans looked on. Hamlin is on a ventilator and was “rolled onto his stomach” at the hospital to help relieve some of the strain on his lungs, his uncle Dorrian Glenn told CNN on Tuesday.

Teams around the league honored Damar Hamlin in their stadiums. ❤️💙 pic.twitter.com/WyMLTqLjJY

— NFL (@NFL) January 4, 2023

Since his hospitalization, Hamlin has received a nationwide outpouring of support from fans and players across the sports world, including more than $7 million donated to his GoFundMe foundation’s toy drive as of Thursday morning . Several athletes have worn the number, 3, or Hamlin’s jersey, while teams across the league have honored him with jumbotron messages and light shows in their stadiums.

The Bills-Bengals game was postponed after Hamlin’s collapse with the Bengals leading 7-3. The NFL is discussing how to handle the incomplete game — which will not continue this week — but has yet to announce a strategy.

Originally billed as an important late-season matchup with significant playoff implications, the matchup averaged 21.1 million viewers on ESPN during the game, according to Nielsen ratings. Following Hamlin’s collapse, viewership increased to a record 23.9 million viewers, making “Monday Night Football” the most-watched telecast in ESPN history.

It’s still unclear what caused Hamlin’s cardiac arrest, but NFL chief medical officer Dr. Allen Sills said the league will investigate what may have led to the player’s collapse during the game.

Whenever a player is evacuated from the field, the NFL and its medical experts conduct a detailed review of what happened, Sills explained on a call with reporters Wednesday. They also examine the role that protective equipment may have played, he said.

In some cases, Sills said, the medical team won’t be able to determine what caused the problem.

The doctor also addressed theories that the cardiac arrest could have been caused by commotio cordis, which occurs when severe trauma to the chest disrupts the heart’s electrical charge, causing dangerous fibrillations.

“You have to have the right kind of shock that hits the right place in the chest with the right amount of force at the right time in that cardiac cycle. So a lot of things have to line up for that to happen,” he said, stressing that while possible, investigators will consider all options.

Sills attributed the medical staff’s “transformational response” when Hamlin went down to the “60-minute meeting” held between medical teams and NFL officials before each game. During the meeting, teams identify the location of medical equipment and nearby medical centers and establish a chain of command in the event of an emergency, including but not limited to cardiac arrest.

Hamlin’s downfall is the latest in a string of recent tragedies that have struck the Buffalo community and its beloved football team, including a racist mass shooting and a historic storm that left at least 41 people dead in Erie County. New York.

A senior official within the Bills organization told CNN’s Coy Wire that they broke down in tears after Tuesday’s day and night meetings, crying because of the gravity of the situation.

The string of tough shots against Buffalo have been emotionally draining within the organization, the source said, adding that through it all, the team has tried to be a source of strength for the city, the source told The Wire.

The source pointed to Buffalo Sabers forward Tage Thompson’s performance Tuesday night as a “spark of hope” at a time when the team needs inspiration.

Hamlin’s jersey number, 3, was a recurring motif throughout the game, played on January 3. Thompson’s three overtime goals gave the Sabers a win. It was Thompson’s third hat trick of the season and his third goal came coincidentally in the third minute of overtime.

The Sabers also wore “Love for 3” T-shirts honoring Hamlin before the game.

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