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Damar Hamlin shows 'signs of improvement,' Buffalo Bills say

Buffalo Bills fans attend a candlelight prayer vigil for player Damar Hamlin at Highmark Stadium on Tuesday in Orchard Park, N.Y.
Timothy T. Ludwig
Getty Images
Buffalo Bills fans attend a candlelight prayer vigil for player Damar Hamlin at Highmark Stadium on Tuesday in Orchard Park, N.Y.

Updated January 4, 2023 at 2:27 PM ET

Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin, who suffered a cardiac arrest during a game Monday night, remains in critical condition but has shown "signs of improvement," the NFL team said Wednesday afternoon.

"He is expected to remain under intensive care as his health care team continues to monitor and treat him," the Bills said.

The 24-year-old is being treated in the intensive care unit at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center after a seemingly routine tackle caused his heart to stop beating. First responders administered CPR on the field to resuscitate Hamlin in front of his distraught teammates and millions of fans.

Early Wednesday morning, his uncle, Dorrian Glenn, told reporters in several televised interviews that doctors restarted Hamlin's heart for a second time when he got to the hospital. Glenn said then that Hamlin remained sedated and on a ventilator.

"I'm just glad he's still alive and able to fight," Glenn told CNN. "I just want to show my gratitude to the medical staff that were on hand. If it were not for them, my nephew probably wouldn't even be here."

Hamlin is now on a ventilator, lying facedown on a hospital bed to keep pressure off his damaged lungs, Glenn said. Doctors are aiming to get him breathing on his own, but will continue "taking it day by day."

Overall, his uncle said, it appears that Hamlin's health is "trending upwards in a positive way."

Glenn traveled 300 miles to be with the second-year NFL player and his immediate family early Tuesday morning, he told CBS. He'd been watching the game at home in Pittsburgh when his nephew collapsed on-field.

"I'm not a crier, but I've never cried so hard in my life," Glenn said of watching those uncertain moments unfold on a screen. "Just to know my nephew basically died on the field and they brought him back to life. It's just heart-breaking. To see all those grown men crying and the emotion ... man, it really was a gut punch."

Glenn added that he believed in "the power of prayer" and was thankful for the support that millions of people have shown Hamlin.

Late Tuesday night, all 32 NFL teams changed their social media profile pictures to show Hamlin's #3 jersey with the text "Pray for Damar."

The NFL said Tuesday that the tragic Bills-Bengals game, which was postponed with six minutes left in the first quarter, will not be resumed this week. The organization has yet to decide whether to continue the match-up later on.

NPR's Ashley Ahn contributed reporting.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Emily Olson
Emily Olson is on a three-month assignment as a news writer and live blog editor, helping shape NPR's digital breaking news strategy.