Buffalo Bills player Damar Hamlin reportedly began communicating with doctors the the University of Cincinnati Medical Centre via writing, officials said. His first question was reportedly “did we win,” referencing the Monday Night Football game he was playing when he collapsed due to a cardiac arrest.
Doctors told reporters on Thursday that his physician responded: “Yes, you won the game of life.”
“We were in the situation where we could let him wake up as his body healed,” Dr Timothy Pritts said during a Thursday press conference. “Last night he was able to emerge, follow commands and even ask who won the game. I can clarify he did not speak but he communicated in writing. He’s unable to speak as he has a breathing tube in. When we answered Damar when he asked who won the game we said, ‘Yes, you won. You won the game of life.’”
Mr Hamlin has not been able to communicate verbally, but doctors said he was showing improvement and that his "neurological function is intact." They said his progress "marks a good turning point in his ongoing care."
“There has been substantial improvement in the last 24 hours,” Dr Pritts said. “We had significant concern, but he is making substantial progress. As of this morning, he is awaking.”
Dr Pritts told reporters on Thursday that Mr Hamlin was doing well, though he still was in intensive care at the hospital.
The doctors said testing was still ongoing, and that they were still unsure if Mr Hamlin had an underlying condition that resulted in the cardiac arrest.
According to the doctors, the large number of skilled medical staff on hand during NFL games was crucial to ensuring both Mr Hamlin’s survial as well as the protection of his neurological functions following his malady.
Though his progress has impressed his doctors, they say its still “too early” to tell whether Mr Hamlin will be able to return to football after his injury.
They said he was able to move his “hands and feet,” but said their next concern is helping Mr Hamlin begin breathing on his own again without the help of a ventilator.