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Uncle says Damar Hamlin is ‘still fighting’, family grateful for support

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The family of Damar Hamlin on Tuesday thanked the public for their support and asked for continued prayers for the safety of the Buffalo Bills, who remains hospitalized in critical condition after going into cardiac arrest on the Cincinnati field Monday night.

“On behalf of our family, we would like to express our sincere gratitude for the love and support extended to Damar during this difficult time. We are deeply moved by the prayers, kind words and donations from fans across the country.” , the family said. in a statement released Tuesday morning.

“We also want to thank the dedicated first responders and healthcare professionals at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center who provided Damar with exceptional care. We feel so lucky to be part of the Buffalo Bills organization and to “have their support. We also want to thank Coach Taylor and the Bengals for all they have done. Your generosity and compassion means the world to us. Please keep Damar in your prayers. We will post updates as soon as we have them.

Dorrian Glenn, Hamlin’s uncle, told ESPN’s Coley Harvey outside the hospital on Tuesday night that Hamlin was sedated and “improving from yesterday,” adding, “We’re just going to keep going. praying, and I know he’s in good hands with the medical team he has here. They’ve done a wonderful job.”

Hamlin’s agent Ron Butler told ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler that Hamlin’s oxygen levels have improved.

Glenn said Hamlin had to be resuscitated twice – once on the pitch at Paycor Stadium and once after arriving at hospital. There are also concerns about potential lung damage, he said.

“I know he’s still here, I know he’s fighting,” Glenn told ESPN. “We appreciate all the prayers and support we have received from people around the world – not just the country, but the world. … It really means a difference for my family to see this, and I know it will. a difference for Damar when he sees that.”

Glenn said he was watching the game with relatives in Pittsburgh and described the emotions among family members following Monday night.

“We thought at first it was just a normal hit, and we thought he came back… maybe he could take a few plays and come back,” Glenn said. “But the way my nephew [Hamlin’s 7-year-old younger brother, Damir] — I’ve never heard him scream and cry like that. And then when 10 minutes passed, then 20 minutes passed, I knew something was serious.”

Glenn continued, “Once they canceled the game, we loaded up two boxcars and drove from Pittsburgh to Cincinnati, just to be here supporting my nephew.”

They arrived in Cincinnati early Tuesday; the towns are about 300 miles apart.

Asked what he witnessed when he was lucky enough to see Hamlin in hospital, Glenn said: “I’m not even going to lie, I turned around. I couldn’t do it. I don’t want to. not see him like this, and I want to wait until he’s able to recover and I can talk to him and you know, see my nephew again.”

Several teams canceled media availability Tuesday out of respect for Hamlin, including the New England Patriots, Philadelphia Eagles, Indianapolis Colts and Kansas City Chiefs. The Jacksonville Jaguars canceled the rest of their availability after guard Brandon Scherff spoke.

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin held his weekly availability on Tuesday and said, “It’s a very personal thing for me. Being a Pittsburgher and this young man being a Pittsburgher.

“I’ve known this guy since he was about 12,” Tomlin said. “I just received a lot of respect and love for him as a human being. His commitment to pursuing his goals and his dreams of doing what he’s doing right now, who’s playing in the NFL, and Seeing him make personal decisions and make it happen, it’s just an honor to get to know young people like that. I had the opportunity to express that to him every time I saw him.

He added that he had contacted Bills coach Sean McDermott “to lend him whatever assistance he could.”

Cincinnati Bengals president Mike Brown said in a statement Tuesday morning that “the hearts of the team are with everyone during this unprecedented time – what we can do is support each other. each other”.

“Last night was supposed to be a great night for the NFL and a great showcase for our hometown. Instead, the human side of our sport became paramount…and in that moment, humanity and the love came to the fore,” Brown said. in the statement. “While the medical staff took extraordinary measures, both teams showed respect and compassion as the fans in the stadium and people across the country reinforced support for Damar and the love one for the other.

“The Bengals are grateful for the love and compassion shown by all. Pray for Damar.”

Hamlin, 24, first had his heart rate restored on the field after suffering cardiac arrest following a hit during the Bills’ game against the Bengals, which was later postponed. CPR was administered to Hamlin on the field for several minutes after he collapsed following his tackle from Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins. Hamlin was given oxygen, according to the ESPN broadcast, as he was placed in the ambulance and removed from the field about 16 minutes after collapsing. He was then taken to the nearby University of Cincinnati Medical Center.

Hamlin was selected in the sixth round of the 2021 NFL Draft in Pittsburgh, with the Bills winning with the No. 212 pick overall.

“Damar Hamlin is so much more than just a football player,” Pitt coach Pat Narduzzi said in a statement Tuesday. “He is a loving son, brother and friend. Damar is a hero to thousands of Pittsburgh children. Damar, we love you. We pray for you. Pittsburgh has always had your back. And now he It’s obvious that the whole country supports you too.”

Players and fans across the NFL rallied in support of Hamlin, with vigils held in Cincinnati and outside the Bills’ stadium. In Buffalo, the Bills changed their social media avatar to that of Hamlin’s No. 3 jersey with the words “Pray for Damar.” The other 31 teams in the league quickly followed suit.

The Bills returned home early Tuesday when they were greeted by a handful of fans watching silently from the side of the road outside Buffalo Niagara International Airport.

“We are vulnerable humans,” Bills left tackle Dion Dawkins said on “SportsCenter.” “Our brother is fighting, and we’ve taken all that armor off and we’re just human…. We’re coming together with just positive vibes and just positive spirits and positive prayer… We’re all human and trying to do our best whatever we can. And at the end of the day, we’re human, and we have families, and we care and we cry and we’re vulnerable and we have emotions and we feel the same pain as the person ordinary feels.”

The Pro Football Hall of Fame, meanwhile, announced on Tuesday that it has postponed the announcement of the 15 Modern Era Player finalists for the Class of 2023 by at least 24 hours out of respect for Hamlin. The announcement has been tentatively delayed to Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET. The Hall of Fame and the NFL Network, which will air the announcement, will meet on Wednesday to determine whether to proceed or continue to delay the news.

Alaina Getzenberg and Brooke Pryor of ESPN and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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