Damar Hamlin was resuscitated twice after collapse, uncle says: What we know Wednesday

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Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin remained in critical condition Tuesday after suffering a cardiac arrest when he collapsed in the first quarter of Monday night's game against the Bengals.

A national TV audience saw medics performing CPR on the field and an automatic external defibrillator (AED) was used, prompting an outpouring of prayers and concern as well as questions about what happened.

Hamlin's heartbeat was restored on the field, according to a statement from his team. He was taken to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, a level-1 trauma hospital. On Tuesday afternoon, the Bills said Hamlin, 24, spent the night in the intensive care unit and was still in critical condition.

Hamlin's uncle says his nephew was resuscitated twice after collapse

Hamlin's uncle Dorrian Glenn shared a health update on Tuesday evening, marking the first time a family member has spoken about Hamlin's condition to the media. While speaking to reporters outside UC Medical Center, Glenn told ESPN and CNN that emergency personnel resuscitated Hamlin twice — once on the field at Paycor Stadium and again at the hospital.

Glenn said Hamlin is currently sedated on a ventilator to "try to get his lungs back to full strength." Glenn told reporters there's a concern of lung damage, but he's hopeful his nephew's condition will improve. 

"They sedated him just to give a better chance for him to just continue to heal better," Glenn told CNN. "We are just taking it day by day. It seems like he’s trending upwards in a positive way."

Glenn added that both of Hamlin's parents are by his side.

What happened on the field during Monday Night Football

Hamlin tackled Bengals receiver Tee Higgins and Higgins fell on him in the first quarter of Monday's game. Hamlin stood up after the play and within seconds fell straight back. It was 8:55 p.m. Medical personnel worked on Hamlin for several minutes, administering CPR. An ambulance pulled onto the field, passing praying Bills and Bengals players. Hamlin was then taken to the hospital.

When the ambulance left the scene, referee Shawn Smith asked both head coaches if they wanted to go to their respective locker rooms to discuss what they wanted to do moving forward.

The initial thought was never about resuming the game, according to NFL executive vice president of football operations Troy Vincent.

“What was most important was that it wasn't about proceeding with the game,” Vincent said. “Frankly, that aspect never crossed my mind or their mind internally.”

Bengals’ head coach Zac Taylor and several players, including quarterback Joe Burrow, walked to the Bills’ locker room to discuss with Buffalo’s head coach Sean McDermott and their players. Collectively, both teams made the decision to postpone the game. This was when the league was notified of the teams’ decision.

The game was suspended indefinitely, with the NFL saying Tuesday afternoon the game would not be resumed this week.

Damar Hamlin's family releases statement

Hamlin's family released the following statement Tuesday morning:

"On behalf of our family, we want to express our sincere gratitude for the love and support shown to Damar during this challenging time," Hamlin's family said in the statement. "We are deeply moved by the prayers, kind words and donations from fans around the country."

"We also want to acknowledge the dedicated first responders and healthcare professionals at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center who have provided exceptional care to Damar," the statement continued. "We feel so blessed to be part of the Buffalo Bills organization and to have their support. We also want to thank coach (Zac) Taylor and the Bengals for everything they've done."

Bengals owner Mike Brown issues statement

Bengals owner Mike Brown said the Bengals continue to send thoughts and prayers to Hamlin and his family.

"Our hearts are with everyone in this unprecedented time – what we can do is support one another," Brown said. "Last night was supposed to be a great night for the NFL and a great showcase for our hometown. Instead, the human side of our sport became paramount ... and in that moment, humanity and love rose to the forefront. As medical personnel undertook extraordinary measures, both teams demonstrated respect and compassion while fans in the stadium and people around the country bolstered the support for Damar and love for each other. The Bengals are thankful for the love and compassion shown by all. Praying for Damar.”

Initial updates from Jordan Rooney, Damar Hamlin's marketing rep

News about Hamlin did not come quickly. The UC Medical Center did not give updates on his condition Monday or Tuesday and it was hours before the team said it was a cardiac arrest. Jordan Rooney, Hamlin's marketing representative, tweeted late Monday night that Hamlin's vital signs were back to normal and he had been placed on a breathing tube.

Rooney said Tuesday on Good Morning America he first shared some details of his friend's condition on social media because he felt there should be some clarity, but added he wouldn't be commenting on the specifics Tuesday.

"He's fighting," Rooney said. "He's a fighter."

Rooney said he first met Hamlin when he was a Division I football player and Hamlin interned for him. Rooney said his friend has always had an entrepreneurial spirit and after becoming fast friends they went into business together.

Rooney said Hamlin's family is in good spirits.

"His family is remarkable. They are strong," Rooney said. "They are supportive. Obviously, they're worried."

What is cardiac arrest?

A sudden cardiac arrest happens when the heart suddenly loses its normal rhythm and stops pumping blood, according to the Sports Institute. Around one or two in every 100,000 athletes experience sudden cardiac arrest each year, according to the Sports Institute.

It is usually caused by abnormalities in the heart, but can also be triggered by a hard blow to the chest. Called "commotio cordis," it is an arrhythmic event caused by a sudden blunt impact to the chest and is seen mostly in athletes playing sports with projectiles, including baseballs, hockey pucks and lacrosse balls, according to the University of Connecticut's Korey Stringer Institute.

Cardiac arrest can stem from a variety of other things too, Dr. Alex Jahangir, executive medical director of Vanderbilt University Medical Center for Trauma, Burn, and Emergency Surgery in Nashville, told USA TODAY on Tuesday.

"In some people's case, a blood vessel gets clogged in the heart because they don't have enough oxygen. Some people get electrocuted. Some are shot in the heart," said Jahangir, who has treated professional athletes over his nearly two-decade career.

Supporting Damar Hamlin's charity, toy fundraiser

A GoFundMe campaign Hamlin created to support a toy drive for a Pennsylvania daycare has been flooded with donations since Hamlin collapsed. Thousands of people have donated, driving the total raised to more than $5 million. The funds go to Hamlin's Chasing M's Foundation.

Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin prior to the start of the first half of a preseason NFL football game on Aug. 28, 2021, in Orchard Park, N.Y.
Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin prior to the start of the first half of a preseason NFL football game on Aug. 28, 2021, in Orchard Park, N.Y.

Will the Bengals vs. Bills game be played?

The NFL postponed the game Monday night. During a midnight press conference, the league said it had not considered when the game could resume and was focused on Hamlin's health.

The league announced Tuesday afternoon that the game will not be resumed this week.

No decision about the possible resumption of the game at a later date has been made, the league added, and no changes to the Week 18 regular-season schedule have been made.

Where the Cincinnati Bengals vs. Buffalo Bills game stands

The game was stopped in the first quarter with the Bengals leading the Bills 7-3. This is the final week of the regular season and the playoffs are scheduled to begin Jan. 14. Both teams were striving for a No. 1 seed in the AFC playoffs with a win in Monday's game.

Cincinnati shows support for Damar Hamlin

Dedicated Bengals and Bills fans went to the hospital Monday night to support Hamlin. They stood shoulder to should in blue and orange jerseys. Many left bars or their homes to hold a vigil outside. Photos of the fans have gone viral as an example of class and sportsmanship.

"I wish well for the Hamlin family and the fans are out here supporting him," said Dustin Peters, of Evanston, who stood in his blue Bills jersey for hours outside the hospital. "All we care about is family. Bills players and fans are all just family."

Vigil set for Damar Hamlin in Cincinnati Tuesday night

A vigil is planned near UC Medical Center at 8:55 p.m., 24 hours after Hamlin collapsed.

Belterra Park postpones sportsbook ribbon cutting

Due to Hamlin's injury, Belterra Park has decided to hold off on its ceremonial ribbon-cutting ceremony to mark the opening of sports betting in Ohio.

The event was planned for Thursday at the Anderson Township racino. Officials said in a statement they would postpone the previously scheduled event "out of respect for everyone affected."

“FanDuel and Belterra Park Cincinnati join the nation in offering our thoughts, prayers and concerns for Damar Hamlin and his family during this difficult time," the statement reads.

A rescheduled date will be announced at a later time.

White House remarks on Hamlin's collapse on the field

In response to a reporter's question at a White House press briefing Tuesday, Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre called the incident "horrific."

" ... (W)e hope his condition and his health improves quickly," she said. "And like the rest of the nation, our thoughts and prayers are with him, his family, and his teammates.

"I'm not going to get ahead and lean into any hypotheticals, but what we are praying for and hoping for is that his health improves."

Enquirer reporters Erin Couch, Kelsey Conway and Dave Clark and USA TODAY contributed reporting.

This article originally appeared on Cincinnati Enquirer: Updates about Damar Hamlin vigil, injury during Bills-Bengals game