CINCINNATI (WNCN) – After learning Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin opened his eyes and improved to “neurologically intact” early Thursday, his direct doctors gave a national update on his health Thursday afternoon.

University of Cincinnati Medical Center doctors William Knight and Timothy Pritts held a national call with hundreds of participants, including CBS 17.

During the call, doctors said he is making a “fairly remarkable recovery from vital signs to organ recovery” and is currently communicating with his care team in writing, as he is still on a breathing tube.

They also addressed the impeccable timing of on-field recognition from medical personnel.

The immediate recognition allowed for bedside treatment in less than one minute of Hamlin’s collapse, the doctors said.

That crucial recognition allowed for textbook resuscitation after the safety lost his pulse, causing him to need CPR. They also confirmed no tracheostomy was needed.

The doctors also said what happened to Hamlin was “incredibly rare,” so the fact that the medical staff was able to identify it in real time likely saved his life.

“[Needing] extra minutes…would be giving a different outcome today,” the doctors said.

They added his return of circulation and use of AED kits, that will shock the heart if there’s an abnormal rhythm after the quick action, after the identification of the rare event is another reason they were able to speak of a positive outcome on Thursday.

When asked about the cause of the rare medical accident, doctors said they still have no answer and tests remain ongoing.

Furthermore, both Knight and Pritts would not comment on Hamlin’s long-term status, saying they are focused on the here and now. While he has made positive progress, he is not in the clear.

They said his next steps are to be able to breathe on his own, to be discharged and to simply see further overall improvement.

Additionally, Hamlin is aware of what happened to him.


He asked what happened in the Buffalo Bills-Cincinnati Bengals Monday Night Football game after becoming conscious enough, his doctors said.

Doctors confirmed his parents told him of his cardiac event.

“Hamlin won because he won the game of life,” Dr. Pritts said.

Editor’s Note: CBS 17 will have the national presser available as a video later Thursday.