While Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin has returned to the team after collapsing from cardiac arrest during a January 2 game against the Cincinnati Bengals, he still faces a long road in his recovery.
Hamlin’s friend and marketing representative, Jordan Rooney, issued a statement on his condition to the Associated Press on Thursday night.
“Despite being out of the hospital, Damar still has a lengthy recovery,” the statement read. “Damar still requires oxygen and is having his heart monitored regularly. He has visited with the team a few times, but he still gets winded very easily. He’s upbeat and positive and ready to continue to overcome this.”
After being stabilized and treated at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, Hamlin was transported to Buffalo General Medical Center for further tests and evaluation. He was released on January 11, just five days after being able to breathe, walk, and talk on his own.
Hamlin returned to the Bills’ facility during the team’s walkthrough practice last Saturday but was not a participant and did not attend Sunday’s playoff victory over the Miami Dolphins.
Head coach Sean McDermott previously told media members that Hamlin was back with the team on a limited but daily basis and “dipping his toe back in here and just getting on the road to just getting back to himself.”
The head coach reiterated that in his pregame press conference on Friday morning.
“We’re just going at Damar’s cadence really, ” McDermott said. “It’s what he needs and how we can help him and how our training staff can help serve him and we can serve him.”
“As anyone would do, we’re just trying to be there for him and walk at his pace. We just want the best for him right now, so it’s been good to have him around.”
The incident occurred in the first quarter of a regular season game against the Bengals, which was later canceled and ruled a no contest
Hamlin had made a seemingly routine tackle on Bengals’ wide receiver Tee Higgins but fell to the ground as he tried to stand. He remained down on the field for several minutes as trainers and medical staff administered CPR before taking him to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center.
Higgins has not seen Hamlin since that game but has told ESPN that he has been in contact with Hamlin’s family and is hoping to see him when the teams play this weekend.
The Bills will play the Bengals in the divisional round of the NFL playoffs in Buffalo at 2 pm CT on Sunday.