Damar Hamlin’s breathing tube was removed Thursday night, allowing the Buffalo safety to talk to his family and care team, the Bills announced Friday morning.
The “remarkable development” comes after Hamlin collapsed on the field in Cincinnati on Monday night and was transported to University of Cincinnati Medical Center in critical condition.
On Thursday, Hamlin's doctors announced that Hamlin was "neurologically intact," and beginning to awaken.
Quarterback Josh Allen spoke publicly for the first time since Hamlin's emergency and assured reporters that the team was prepared to face the New England Patriots. He and head coach Sean McDermott agreed that this was partly because of the positive updates they received, along with encouragement from Hamlin’s father.
“We just want to love up on him the next chance we get,” Allen said. “I don’t know when it’s going to be, but if we get to see him again anytime soon, it’s going to be awesome."
This morning, the team says that the 24-year-old was able to speak with his team on FaceTime, saying “love you, boys.”
He reportedly also flexed with both arms, made a heart symbol, and gave a thumbs up.
Hamlin's 'remarkable recovery'
University of Cincinnati Medical Center doctors Timothy Pritts and William Knight IV described Hamlin’s recovery as “fairly remarkable,” before he could breathe without the tube.
On Monday night, the safety went into cardiac arrest after tackling Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins. Bills medical staff instantly called for the enactment of the NFL’s emergency action plan.
“We can’t say enough about the quick actions of the Bills' training staff and the physicians who were on the field with getting to him, recognizing that this was a very serious situation and responding and saving his life,” Pritts said.
His teammates were reportedly moved to tears by the news, texting “we needed this,” and “I can’t believe it,” according to ESPN’s Diana Russini.
Hamlin’s uncle Dorrian Glenn said in a text via NFL Network’s Cameron Wolfe that he and the family were grateful for the "unification around Damar in this country."
“We are absolutely blessed. I believe that the prayers he received from everyone across America have truly impacted his remarkable recovery," Glenn wrote. "We are forever grateful for the concern and compassion that everyone has demonstrated this past week. Talking with my nephew has been an amazing experience this morning."