Damar Hamlin makes first public comments as recovery continues

Sports

Kayla Adeniji, center, wife of Cincinnati Bengals offensive lineman Hakeem Adeniji, tapes up a sign she made in support of Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin outside UC Medical Center, Thursday, Jan. 5, 2023, in Cincinnati. Hamlin, who remains hospitalized at the center, has shown what physicians treating him are calling “remarkable improvement over the last 24 hours,” the team announced on Thursday, three days after the player went into cardiac arrest and had to be resuscitated on the field. (AP Photo/Joshua A. Bickel)

(NewsNation) — Doctors described Damar Hamlin’s neurological function as “excellent” Saturday, as the Buffalo Bills safety continued making progress in his recovery after having to be resuscitated on the field in a game at Cincinnati on Monday.

In his first public comments since the incident, Hamlin posted an Instagram message saying, “When you put real love out into the world it comes back to you 3x’s as much. The Love has been overwhelming, but I’m thankful for every single person that prayed for me and reached out.”

In the post, the recovering Bills player says he’s thankful.

“On a long road keep praying for me!” he said.

In providing their daily update on Hamlin, the Bills said the player continues to breathe on his own but remains in critical condition at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center. Hamlin took a major step forward in his recovery on Friday when he was taken off a ventilator and showed an ability to speak.

The 24-year-old also made a brief live videoconference appearance Friday for his teammates, making several hand signs and saying, “Love you boys.”

Hamlin went into cardiac arrest and his heart stopped on Monday night after making what appeared to be a routine tackle in the first quarter against the Bengals. The game was initially suspended before officially being canceled later in the week.

The Bills are planning to pay tribute to Hamlin and the first-responders and medical staff who treated him when they close the season Sunday by hosting the New England Patriots.

The NFL also will show support for Hamlin during all Week 18 games, which start Saturday afternoon, including a pregame moment of support, painting Hamlin’s No. 3 on the 30-yard line and pregame shirts with “Love for Damar 3.” The Bills will also wear “3” jersey patches.

On Saturday, the Steelers paid tribute to Hamlin, who is from the Pittsburgh area, by delivering toys, books and teaching supplies to Kelly & Nina’s Daycare, where the player hosts an annual toy drive. Fans, players and team owners have also made donations to Hamlin’s Chasing M’s Foundation, which had raised just more than $8.2 million by Saturday afternoon.

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