ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — Doctors described Damar Hamlin’s neurological function as “excellent” Saturday as the Buffalo Bills safety continued making progress in his recovery after having to be resuscitated on the field during a game Monday in Cincinnati.
In providing their daily update on Hamlin, the Bills said the player continues to breathe on his own but remains in critical condition at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center. Hamlin took a major step forward in his recovery Friday when he was taken off a ventilator and showed an ability to speak.
The 24-year-old also made a brief live videoconference appearance Friday for his teammates, making several hand signs and saying, “Love you, boys.”
Hamlin went into cardiac arrest and his heart stopped Monday night after making what appeared to be a routine tackle in the first quarter against the Bengals. The game was initially suspended before being canceled later in the week.
The Bills are planning to pay tribute to Hamlin and the first responders and medical staff who treated the player when they close the season Sunday by hosting the New England Patriots.
The NFL also will show support for Hamlin during all Week 18 games, which start Saturday afternoon, including a pregame moment of support, painting Hamlin’s No. 3 on the 30-yard line and pregame shirts with “Love for Damar 3.” The Bills will also wear “3″ jersey patches.
On Saturday, the Steelers paid tribute to Hamlin, who is from the Pittsburgh area, by delivering toys, books and teaching supplies to Kelly & Nina’s Daycare, where the player hosts an annual toy drive. Fans, players and team owners have also made donations to Hamlin’s Chasing M’s Foundation, which has raised just more than $8.2 million by Saturday afternoon.