NFL's Hamlin shows 'remarkable improvement' after cardiac arrest

© Kamil Krzaczynski, AP

Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin has shown "remarkable improvement" and is awake and communicating, three days after suffering cardiac arrest during an NFL game, the team and doctors said Thursday.

"It's not only that the lights are on, but we know that he's home," doctor Timothy Pritts of the University of Cincinnati Medical Center said in a video news conference.

"It appears that all cylinders are firing within his brain."

Hamlin remains in critical condition on a ventilator and is unable to speak, but he has been able to communicate in writing, Pritts said.

When the 24-year-old player first woke up, he asked whether the Bills won Monday's game against the Bengals in Cincinnati -- a contest that was called off after Hamlin's terrifying collapse and subsequent efforts to revive him on the field.

"The answer is yes, Damar, you won the game of life," Pritts said.

Doctor William Knight credited the "really outstanding" response by medical staff at the game with saving Hamlin's life.

"It's been a long and difficult road for the last three days," Knight said, adding that Hamlin "has made a pretty remarkable improvement."

He said further testing would be necessary, when Hamlin is able, to determine what caused the cardiac arrest.

At the moment, both doctors said, the main focus is on weaning Hamlin from the ventilator.

"We're focused on the right-now," Knight said. "He still has a ways to go in terms of liberation from the ventilator.

"It's entirely too early to speculate about the future," Knight added, in answer to numerous questions from reporters about the long-term prognosis for Hamlin.


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