NFL's Hamlin remains critical after on-field collapse

Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin, who suffered a cardiac arrest during an NFL game, remained hospitalized in critical condition Tuesday as his family thanked supporters for their generosity and encouragement.

The 24-year-old defensive back collapsed Monday night after receiving a hard hit in the chest while tackling receiver Tee Higgins during the first quarter of the Bills' game at Cincinnati.

Medical workers restored his heartbeat on the field, the Bills said, as they worked for 30 minutes while players from both teams wept and looked worried.

Hamlin was taken from the stadium in an ambulance and the pivotal contest between two playoff-bound NFL clubs was suspended indefinitely.

The horrific scene was witnessed by a national television audience -- a nightmare scenario hitting America's most popular and most violent sport.

There was no medical update from the overnight statements regarding Hamlin, a second-year player who had become a starter for the Bills.

The Bills returned to Buffalo after the contest, but some players chose to stay in Cincinnati to be near Hamlin.

"His heartbeat was restored on the field ... He is currently sedated and listed in critical condition," the Bills said in a statement.

Players from around the NFL and other sports, such as NBA superstar LeBron James, expressed hope for Hamlin to return to full health.

"It was a terrible thing to see and I wish nothing but the best for that kid," James said.

Cincinnati's Higgins, who delivered the hit while being tackled, tweeted, "I'm praying that you pull through bro."

A GoFundMe page that supports Hamlin's foundation, which backs children's charity programs, had more than $4 million in contributions on Tuesday after a huge jump in donations following his injury.

Hamlin's family released a statement through his friend and marketing representative, Jordon Rooney.

"On behalf of our family, we want to express our sincere gratitude for the love and support shown to Damar during this challenging time," the Hamlin family said.

"We are deeply moved by the prayers, kind words and donations from fans around the country."

They also thanked University of Cincinnati Medical Center workers for providing "exceptional care to Damar" and thanked both the Bills and Cincinnati Bengals organizations.

"Your generosity and compassion mean the world to us," the statement said.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced the game's postponement, saying, "The NFL has been in constant communication with the NFL Players Association which is in agreement with postponing the game."

No details regarding when or if the game might be completed have been announced by the league.

The Bills and Bengals are battling the Kansas City Chiefs for the top seed in the American conference and a first-round playoff bye plus a home-field edge throughout the playoffs.

The NFL's final regular-season games are scheduled next weekend with the Bills set to host New England on Sunday.