NFL's Hamlin remains critical, game won't be finished this week

Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin, who suffered a cardiac arrest during an NFL game, remained hospitalized in critical condition Tuesday while the league said the suspended contest would not be resumed this week.

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 treated Hamlin for 30 minutes on the field and restored his heartbeat while players from both teams wept and worried, the horrific scene watched by a national television audience and a stadium crowd stunned into silence.

Hamlin was taken from the stadium in an ambulance and the pivotal contest between playoff-bound NFL clubs, led 7-3 by Cincinnati, was halted by agreement of the NFL and NFL Players Association (NFLPA).

"Damar Hamlin spent last night in the intensive care unit and remains there today in critical condition at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center," the Bills said in a Tuesday afternoon statement.

"We are grateful and thankful for the outpouring of support we have received thus far."

The NFLPA tweeted out mental health and counseling information in a message to all players.

"Our union's focus remains on the health of our brother, Damar Hamlin," the NFLPA said in a statement. "We continue to be in touch with the clubs and NFL to ensure that Bills and Bengals players have every resource available to aid and support them during this time."

The NFL announced the Bills-Bengals game would not be completed this week, with no guarantee it would be finished, and said next weekend's final regular-season games remain as scheduled.

"After speaking with both teams and NFLPA leadership, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell informed the clubs today that the Bills-Bengals game will not be resumed this week," an NFL statement said.

"The NFL has made no decision regarding the possible resumption of the game at a later date. The league has not made any changes to the week 18 regular-season schedule."

That means the NFL expects the Bills (12-3) to play host to New England (8-8) on Sunday in a game with playoff qualifying and seeding implications.

The Bills returned to Buffalo after the contest, but some players chose to stay in Cincinnati to be near Hamlin, a second-year player who had become a starter for the Bills.

Players from around the NFL and other sports 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," NBA superstar LeBron James said.

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

Bills quarterback Josh Allen tweeted, "Please pray for our brother."

Seven-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady, the 45-year-old quarterback who ended a brief retirement to play this season, tweeted: "Moments like this put into perspective what it means to play this game we love."

- Family 'deeply moved' -

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.

"Your generosity and compassion mean the world to us."

The only similar situation on the field in an NFL game took place in 1971 when Detroit Lions receiver Chuck Hughes suffered a cardiac incident against Chicago and was pronounced dead shortly after being taken to a hospital.

Hughes collapsed while returning to a huddle after a play he wasn't directly involved with during the fourth quarter. That game was played to completion.

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