New York State In-depth

Going Home: Bills’ Hamlin has been discharged from Buffalo Hospital

ORCHARD PARK, NY (AP) – The “prayers for Damar 3” have been answered. Buffalo Bill’s safety Damar Hamlin is finally home.

Nine days after leaving his teammates stunned and saddened by suffering cardiac arrest and being resuscitated on the field in Cincinnati and putting the NFL on hold, Hamlin was discharged from a Buffalo hospital on Wednesday, the Bills announced.

“We have conducted a series of tests and evaluations and after consultation with the team doctors, we are confident that Damar can be safely discharged,” said Dr. Jamie Nadler in a press release from the team.

This is the next big step in Hamlin’s remarkable recovery, which came two days after he was found well enough to be transferred from the University of Cincinnati Medical Center to Buffalo General Medical Center. Nadler said Hamlin, 24, will continue his rehabilitation with the Bills.

The Bills and Nadler did not release the results of tests Hamlin had in Buffalo over the past two days to determine why his heart had stopped after being punched directly in the chest by Bengals receiver Tee Higgins while he appeared to be making a routine tackle. Hamlin collapsed during the first quarter of Buffalo’s since-cancelled game in Cincinnati on Jan. 2, a chilling scene that played out before millions on television.

“It just shows what a kid he is, how he’s fought and continues to win,” said Bill’s left tackle Dion Dawkins. “There’s no place he’d rather be than in his own bed, such a blessing on him.”

As Hamlin’s recovery progressed, the news from the Bills and the NFL switched from “Prayers for Damar 3” to “Love for Damar 3” until last weekend when the entire league honored Hamlin, who wears the number 3. The Bills and their fans capped an emotionally draining week with a 35-23 win at the end of the regular season against New England.

“It’s a great feeling. And we just hope he’s resting and recovering,” quarterback Josh Allen said after practice Wednesday, where the Bills (13-3) were preparing to defeat their division rivals Miami Dolphins (9-8) in a wild card playoff received game on Sunday. “As a team we are very happy.”

As much as players want to see Hamlin in person, Allen warned that that moment may have to wait for Hamlin to find his strength.

“I’m just making sure he’s taking it slow and obviously trying to get back to being himself,” Allen added. “So we’re taking the time we need. But I hope he knows the boys are ready to see him.”

Coach Sean McDermott said it’s up to Hamlin to decide when he will visit the team, saying: “We’ll welcome him back when he feels ready.”

Hamlin spent his first two days in hospital under sedation and showed no signs of neurological damage when he was awakened on January 4. On Friday, he was breathing on his own and walking and appearing via video conference at a team meeting, where he informed the Bills, “I love you guys.”

On Sunday, Hamlin live-tweeted during the Bills’ win. Doctors joked he set off numerous ICU alerts while teammate Nyheim Hines returned the opening launch 96 yards for a touchdown.

Following his transfer to Buffalo, Hamlin posted a note on Twitter that read, “Special thanks to Buffalo General, it’s been nothing but love since he arrived!” while asking his supporters to keep him in their prayers.

His doctors said Hamlin’s progress in recovering from cardiac arrest, which is considered a life-threatening event, was normal to accelerated.

In the days that followed, $8.6 million in GoFundMe donations went to Hamlin’s Toy Drive fundraiser, which is used to support young people through education and sports.

Hamlin, who hails from McKee’s Rock, a Pittsburgh suburb, will also use proceeds from the sale of new T-shirts that read “Did We Win?”. along with his hands in the shape of a heart to raise money for the Cincinnati trauma center that originally treated him.


Associated Press reporter Carolyn Thompson in Buffalo contributed to this report.


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