The Buffalo Bills announced Thursday morning that safety Damar Hamlin, who suffered a cardiac arrest during Monday's game against the Bengals, "has shown remarkable improvement over the past 24 hours" and "appears to be neurologically intact," per the doctors caring for Hamlin at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center.
"While still critically ill, he has demonstrated that he appears to be neurologically intact," the team said in a statement. "His lungs continue to heal and he is making steady progress. We are grateful for the love and support we have received."
NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Thursday that Hamlin opened his eyes on Wednesday night, is responsive and has been gripping the hands of those close to him.
Hamlin has been hospitalized since Monday night, when after making a tackle in the first quarter, he got to his feet before collapsing on the field. According to the Bills, his heartbeat was restored on the field before he was transported in an ambulance to the UCMC for further testing and treatment. After Hamlin was taken to the hospital, the NFL postponed the Bills-Bengals game.
While numerous medical professionals attended to Hamlin on the field Monday night, Bills offensive lineman Dion Dawkins gave public praise to the efforts of Buffalo assistant athletic trainer Denny Kellington, who Dawkins said gave Hamlin CPR.
"Denny Kellington let's praise this name and person for reviving Our Brother Damar on the field," Dawkins wrote on Twitter. "Denny gave CPR and chest compressions to get his Heart Back Beating #DennyKellington And also thank you to all the doctors and Medical professionals that have helped and assisted."
Minutes before the Bills' Thursday morning statement on Hamlin's improvement, rookie cornerback Kaiir Elam also shared positive news on Twitter regarding Hamlin's status.
Hamlin's agency released the following statement on Thursday morning:
"The outpouring of support for Damar across the nation has been amazing. Thank you for the calls, messages, and emails. Damar has made substantial improvement overnight. We are so thankful for all of the first responders, doctors, and hospital staff and every one who has played a role in this process. Please continue to pray for Damar and we will provide updates as they are available."
NFL Network's Mike Giardi reported earlier Thursday that Hamlin's father, Mario Hamlin, addressed the Bills team via video conference on Wednesday.
In the days since the frightening development Monday night, donations have poured into a GoFundMe originally established in 2020 by Hamlin for a Pittsburgh community toy drive in his native city that is now being used for contributions to "Damar's community initiatives and his current fight."
The Bills held meetings and a walkthrough practice on Wednesday and plan to hold a full practice session on Thursday. The team will hold a press conference featuring head coach Sean McDermott and select players on Thursday afternoon.