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Damar Hamlin injury update: Doctors struggle to get Buffalo Bills player breathing without ventilator after NFL midgame collapse

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CINCINATI– After victim of a cardiac arrest in the middle of the match on MondayBuffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin remains sedated on a ventilator as doctors struggle to get him to breathe on his own, his uncle says, as worried fans across the country await news of his whereabouts .

The 24-year-old was still in critical condition on Tuesday night, his uncle Dorrian Glenn told CNN, after his on-court collapse the night before interrupted the Bills’ game against the Cincinnati Bengals, stunning a crowded stadium that had been waving with excitement about catching and running past Hamlin’s tackle from a Bengals wide receiver.

But on Wednesday morning, Hamlin family spokesman Jordon Rooney said relatives had been told by doctors that Hamlin’s condition was moving in a “positive direction”.

Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin (3) walks off the field during the second half of an NFL football game against the New England Patriots Thursday, Dec. 21. 1, 2022, in Foxborough, Mass.

AP Photo/Greg M. Cooper

Within seconds, medical personnel were rushing onto the field to administer CPR and resuscitate Hamlin in front of his teammates, many of whom were falling to their knees, sending a prayer or openly crying and embracing.

“I’m not a crier, but I’ve never cried so hard in my life. Just to know, for example, that my nephew died in the field and they brought him back to life,” said said Glenn.

Glenn was watching the game in Pittsburgh with Hamlin’s younger brother and said everyone at first thought it was just a normal shot and he would come back, take a few plays and come back. After 10-20 minutes they knew it was something serious.

Glenn said he tried to console Hamlin’s 7-year-old brother that everything would be fine, but it soon became apparent that it might not be right.

After the game was called off, the family loaded up two cars and drove from Pittsburgh to Cincinnati to support Hamlin.

Glenn said Hamlin is still fighting and the family appreciates prayers from around the world.

He said he was lucky enough to see Hamlin, but turned away because he didn’t want to see him in this state and would wait to see him when he could actually talk to him.

Hamlin is on a ventilator to relieve some of the pressure on his lungs, which have been damaged, according to Glenn. Doctors told Glenn his nephew had also been ‘turned onto his stomach’ in hospital to help with the blood on his lungs, he said, adding: ‘It seems he has a positive trend .”

The game was suspended with nearly six minutes left in the first quarter and was later officially postponed. He will not resume this week and no decision has been made whether to continue at a later date, the NFL announced Tuesday.

Injuries on the pitch are not rare in the league, which often resumes play even after severe cases. But several current and former players said Hamlin’s cardiac arrest was particularly troubling as medical staff battled to save his life as fans and players watched.

Bills offensive tackle Dion Dawkins realized the seriousness of his teammate’s condition when Hamlin lay on the ground as more medical personnel were called in, he said.

At that point, you just think like, ‘What can I do? What can we do ?’ And it immediately breaks you in prayer,” Dawkins told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on Tuesday. “Whether you’re a believer or not, only a higher power can truly take control of what’s to come. And our helping people have also helped this higher power.”

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Buffalo Bills players pray for teammate Damar Hamlin during the first half of an NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals on Monday, January 19. 2, 2023, in Cincinnati.

AP Photo/Jeff Dean

Hamlin’s collapse marks the latest in a series of tragic blows for the players and community of Buffalo, which in recent months has suffered a racist shooting and a historic blizzard that left at least 41 people dead in the county. ‘Erie, New York. It’s been, you know, just [a] consistent hits for Buffalo,” Dawkins said.

An outpouring of support surrounded Hamlin and his family as messages of prayers and well wishes poured in from star athletes, fans and national leaders. A Fundraising which Hamlin previously launched for his Chasing M’s Foundation toy drive has raised more than $6 million since his hospitalization.

Following: Fundraising for Damar Hamlin’s toy drive surpasses $4 million in donations hours after it collapsed

At a prayer service for the player on Tuesday night, community members described the heartbreak of seeing ‘one of us’ enduring such a crisis.

“All you can do now is pray for Damar. The man, not the football player, not the Buffalo Bill, but the person. He’s got to get through this,” the Poet Laureate said. town, Jillian Hanesworth.

What Doctors May Think

It’s still unclear what led to Hamlin’s cardiac arrest – a condition that results from electrical disturbances that cause the heart to suddenly stop beating properly. Death can occur quickly if help is not rendered immediately. It is not the same as a heart attack or heart failure.

When the heart isn’t beating well, fluid can sometimes back up into the lungs and prevent medical staff from oxygenating the patient, CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta explained. Thus, they will turn the person onto their stomach in a lying position to facilitate breathing.

SEE ALSO: What happened to Damar Hamlin of the Buffalo Bills? The doctor explains the player’s chest injury

It appears Hamlin still has significant heart dysfunction and his heart can’t pump enough blood, Gupta said.

One of the treatment options is to reduce the body’s demand for oxygenated blood, he told CNN’s Anderson Cooper on Tuesday.

“So you want to improve the amount of circulation, but in the meantime you can also reduce the demand by sedating someone, keeping them on a ventilator,” he said. “Sometimes they even use cooling agents, it’s called hypothermia, to practically put the body into a state of hibernation, so it doesn’t demand as much oxygenated blood. is part of the reason why he would be on a breathing apparatus like Bien.”

Hamlin’s family on Tuesday thanked staff at the UC Medical Center “who provided Damar with exceptional care.”

“On behalf of our family, we want to express our gratitude for the love and heartfelt support Damar has shown during this difficult time. We are deeply moved by the prayers, kind words and donations from fans across the country. “, reads its press release. . .

It’s a brutal sport. I think people forget that’

Several star athletes, including a tennis player Coco GauffNFL’s JJ Watt and NBA legend LeBron James — applauded the NFL’s decision to postpone the game and stressed the importance of Hamlin’s safe recovery to the game’s outcome.

Former NFL player Donté Stallworth says the league’s decision to postpone the game wouldn’t have happened years ago. “Five or 10 years ago the game probably would have resumed,” he told CNN’s Jim Sciutto on Tuesday.

“I don’t know if you can make the game much safer,” he said. “It’s a brutal sport. I think people forget that. They sometimes consider players more like commodities, especially with fantasy football.

“Sometimes we forget the human side, that these players are actually human beings and they have families and they have wives and children,” he added, pointing out that “the mother of Hamlin was there to see it with his own eyes.”

Dawkins was relieved and grateful his team didn’t have to keep playing, he said.

“The fact that we haven’t had to go back to that pitch and play just shows that there is care, and that’s all we can ask for is that we are treated like people,” he said. “Because most people treat us like athletes, like superstars and some people like celebrities, but then they treat us like people.”

Bills players and staff are still processing Monday night’s events, a team source told CNN’s Coy Wire on Tuesday.

The ongoing shock of Hamlin’s hospitalization – on top of the city’s mass shooting in May, the deadly blizzard in December, having a home game in November moved to Detroit and being stuck in Chicago over the holidays – has been heavy on everyone associated with the club. , the source said.

“Everyone is exhausted,” the source told Wire, adding that the team’s return flight to New York didn’t land until 3:30 a.m. ET on Tuesday.

ESPN and ABC News contributed to this report.

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