Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin was released from a Cincinnati hospital on Monday about a week after he collapsed during a “Monday Night Football” game due to cardiac arrest, officials said.
“We are thrilled and proud to share that Damar Hamlin has been released from the hospital and returned to Buffalo,” said the University of Cincinnati Medical Center in a statement released by the Buffalo Bills on Twitter. “He is doing well, and this is the next stage of his recovery.”
Hamlin was transferred to a Buffalo, New York, hospital and is expected to continue his recovery there, according to doctors at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center. They provided an update in a news conference.
“Mr. Hamlin has been released and returned to Buffalo. I traveled with him to the airport this morning with our UC Health air care and mobile care crew, including teammates who were with us on the field when Mr. Hamlin collapsed,” Dr. William Knight IV, a professor of emergency medicine at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, said Monday.
Knight added that “our ultimate goal was to get Damar back home to his amazing family and broader Buffalo family” before saying he was “released and returned back to Buffalo.”
“He landed safely and is as standard as anybody who has gone through what he’s gone through this last week and certainly after flying on a plane. He is going to be observed and monitored to ensure that there is no impact on the flight of his condition or on his lungs,” Knight said.
Another doctor, Timothy Pritts, said the medical team “wanted him to reach the criteria that allowed us to upgrade his conditions from either critical to fair or good … when he was able to meet that criteria this morning, we thought it was safe and proper to get him back to the Greater Buffalo area.”
Hamlin, on Twitter, confirmed that he is “back in Buffalo” and is receiving care at Buffalo General Hospital.
After making a routine tackle of Cincinnati Bengals receiver Tee Higgins during the Week 17 matchup, Hamlin got back up, adjusted his helmet, and collapsed on the field. Medical personnel rushed to his side and rendered aid for about 15 minutes before he was taken to the UC Medical Center.
Later, the Bills confirmed that he suffered cardiac arrest and was revived on the field. Doctors, in their first news conference last week, said that it’s unclear what caused his condition.
Doctors have said that Hamlin, a 24-year-old player in his second NFL season, has retained all his neurological functions, saying he did not sustain injuries to his spine. A U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) fact sheet (pdf) says those who experience cardiac arrest have a 70 to 90 percent mortality rate, and those who survive often suffer brain injuries and lasting neurological impacts.
He was awakened on Wednesday night and was eventually able to grip people’s hands. By Friday, Hamlin was able to breathe on his own and even addressed the team by videoconference, in which he told the Bills, “Love you boys.”
The last update from doctors came on Saturday, when they described Hamlin’s neurological function as “excellent,” though he remained listed in critical condition.
The game in Cincinnati was postponed by the NFL and ultimately canceled, leaving both the Bengals and Bills with 16-game records instead of the 17 that every other NFL team has. Behind the Kansas City Chiefs, both teams are among the top in the AFC and are scheduled to play during the Wild Card round this weekend.
The Bills are hosting the Miami Dolphins for an AFC Wild Card matchup Sunday, while the Bengals will host the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday.
After learning of Hamlin’s transfer to another hospital, Bills coach Zac Taylor told reporters: “That’s unbelievable. I was just upstairs talking to somebody about when that would be … just think about it, that was not even a week ago. There’s no one in this room that expected he’d be in Buffalo [after] what we saw even Tuesday morning.”
“God is great, he works miracles. This is certainly a miracle, no question,” he added.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.