ORchard Park, New York (AP) — “Prayers for Damar 3” have been answered. Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin is finally home.
Nine days after he surprised and distressed his teammates by going into cardiac arrest and resuscitating him on the field in Cincinnati, and being suspended by the NFL, Hamlin was released from Buffalo Hospital on Wednesday, the Bills announced.
“We have completed a series of tests and evaluation and in consultation with the team physicians, we are confident that Damar can be safely discharged,” Dr. Jamie Nadler said in a team news release.
It marked the next major step in what doctors called a remarkable recovery for Hamlin, which came two days after he was deemed healthy enough to be transferred from the University of Cincinnati Medical Center to Buffalo General Medical Center.. Nadler said Hamlin, 24, will continue his rehabilitation with the Bills.
Biles and Nadler did not release the results of tests Hamlin took over the past two days in Buffalo to determine the cause of his heart failure. after he was hit squarely in the chest by Bengals receiver Tee Higgins while making what appeared to be a routine tackle. Hamlin collapsed during the first quarter of the since canceled Buffalo game in Cincinnati on Jan. 2, a chilling scene shown to millions on television.
“It just goes to show what kind of kid he is, how he’s fought and he keeps winning,” said Biles on tackle left Dion Dawkins. “There’s nowhere he’d rather be than on his bed, so I bless him.”
As Hamlin’s recovery progressed, the Bills and NFL’s messages shifted from “Prayer for Damar 3” to “Love for Damar 3” by last weekend, when the entire league honored Hamlin, who wears third. An emotionally draining week with a 35-23 win in the regular season finale over New England.
“It feels great,” quarterback Josh Allen said Wednesday after practice, as the Bills (13-3) prepared to host their division rival Miami Dolphins (9-8) in a playoff game on Sunday. “As a team, we’re very excited.”
As much as players would like to see Hamlin in person, Allen warned that that moment might have to wait to allow Hamlin to gain his strength.
“Just make sure he’s taking it slow, and obviously trying to get back to normal,” Allen added. “So we’ll take all the time we need. But I hope he knows the guys are ready to see him.”
Coach Sean McDermott said it was up to Hamlin to decide when the team would visit, saying, “We’ll welcome him back because he feels ready.”
Hamlin spent his first two days in the hospital under anesthesia and showed no signs of neurological damage when he was awakened on January 4. By Friday, he was breathing on his own, walking, and appeared by videoconference at a team meeting, telling the Bills, “I love you boys.”
On Sunday, Hamlin was tweeting live during a Bills win, with doctors joking that he sounded so many ICU alarms while watching teammate Nehem Haynes return the opening kickoff 96 yards for a touchdown.
After being transferred to Buffalo, Hamlin published a Note on Twitter It read: “Special thanks to General Buffalo, it’s been nothing but love since he arrived!” While asking his followers to save him in their prayers.
His doctors said Hamlin’s progress in recovering from cardiac arrest, considered a life-threatening event, was normal and accelerated.
In the days that followed, $8.6 million in GoFundMe donations poured into the Game Drive fundraiser in Hamlin.Which will be used to support youth through education and sports.
Hamlin, who is from the Pittsburgh suburb of Mucky Rock, will also use proceeds from the sale of new T-shirts emblazoned with the words “Did We Win?” along with his hands in the shape of a heart, to raise money for the Cincinnati trauma center that initially treated him.
Associated Press reporter Carolyn Thompson in Buffalo contributed to this report.
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