'The love has been overwhelming': Bills safety Hamlin makes 1st public comments since cardiac arrest
Recovery continues for 24-year-old, who remains in critical condition
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 in a game at Cincinnati on Monday.
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 on Friday when he was taken off a ventilator and showed an ability to speak.
There was a post on the 24-year-old's verified Instagram account Saturday evening saying that any love put into the world comes back three times as much and thanking all who have "reached our and prayed." It also said that the response to his injury will make Hamlin stronger.
The post read: "When you put real love out into the world it comes back to you 3x's as much. The Love has been overwhelming, but I'm thankful for every single person that prayed for me and reached out. We brung the world back together behind this. If you know me you know this only gone make me stronger. On a long road keep praying for me!"
The love is felt, & extremely real. No matter race or religion everybody coming together in prayer! 🙏❤️—@HamlinIsland
A couple hours after the post, there was a tweet that said, "The love is felt, & extremely real. No matter race or religion everybody coming together in prayer!"
Hamlin 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 on Monday night after making what appeared to be a routine tackle in the first quarter against the Bengals. The game was initially suspended before officially being cancelled later in the week.
WATCH | Hamlin breathing on his own, talking to teammates:
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 US by Saturday afternoon.
WATCH l Sight of Hamlin collapsing renews questions about game's safety:
With files from CBC Sports
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