Damar Hamlin’s Doctors Say On-Field Response, CPR Saved His Life

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On Thursday, the sports world received the update that it was anxious to hear: Damar Hamlin’s health has improved significantly.

Doctors from the University of Cincinnati Medical Center — Dr. Timothy Pritts, Division Chief of General Surgery, and William Knight, Director of Emergency Medicine — addressed the media to update Hamlin’s condition.

In addition to reporting that Hamlin’s neurological function appears in tact — he asked who won the Monday Night Football game, as OutKick previously reported — doctors said the on-field response from the NFL and Bills medical personnel saved his life.

“The Bills training staff who was with him recognized immediately … that they had a significant event on their hands,” said Dr. Pritts. “Really, this went as well as something like this could go under very challenging circumstances. They did a fantastic job, which is why we are here today.”

One reporter asked doctors if a few extras seconds or minutes without proper care could have created a poor outcome.

“Yes, that’s fair to say,” said Dr. Pritts.

Fans look on as the ambulance leaves carrying Damar Hamlin of the Buffalo Bills after he collapsed after making a tackle against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Fans look on as the ambulance leaves carrying Damar Hamlin of the Buffalo Bills after he collapsed after making a tackle against the Cincinnati Bengals. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)

Several people, including Bills offensive lineman Dion Dawkins, reported that the man who administered CPR was Bills assistant athletic trainer Denny Kellington.

According to doctors, Kellington’s care was crucial to Hamlin’s survival.

“[Hamlin received] what I would deem a textbook resuscitation on the field from immediate bystander CPR, defibrillation, airway management and then transport to the hospital,” Dr. Knight said.

“It’s critical that we do that resuscitation at the scene of where a cardiac arrest is. That portends the best recovery.”

Damar Hamlin improving, but not out of woods yet

Doctors addressed next steps involving Hamlin’s care. While Wednesday and Thursday represented very positive steps towards Hamlin’s recovery, there are still hurdles that need to be cleared according to his doctors.

First, Hamlin is not yet breathing fully on his own.

“There are many, many steps that are still ahead of him. We would like to see him continue to improve [and] to be completely breathing on his own. Then, to be ready to be discharged from the hospital. Those are the immediate next steps,” Dr. Pritts said.

As for his long-term prognosis, doctors can’t make a definite prediction yet, since he still has a ways to go in recovery.

“We really want to get him home to [his family] … and then we’ll talk about potential plans for the future,” Dr. Pritts said.

“We’re focused on the right now,” Dr. Knight said. “He still has a little ways to go in terms of liberation from the ventilator… It is entirely too early to project into the future.”

It remains to be seen what the future holds for Damar Hamlin, but Thursday’s update provided a sense of relief across the country.

Hopefully, we will continue to receive positive updates and we will share them with OutKick readers as we have them.

FULL PRESS CONFERENCE WITH HAMLIN’S DOCTORS:

Follow Dan Zaksheske on Twitter: @OutkickDanZ

Written by Dan Zaksheske

Dan began his sports media career at ESPN, where he survived for nearly a decade. Once the Stockholm Syndrome cleared, he made his way to Outkick. He is secure enough in his masculinity to admit he is a cat-enthusiast with three cats, one of which is named “Brady” because his wife wishes she were married to Tom instead of him.

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