By Billy Hallowell and Talia Wise
As fans continue praying for Damar Hamlin, the Buffalo Bills player who remains hospitalized in critical condition after the 24-year-old collapsed and cardiac arrested Monday night during a football showdown between the Bills and the Cincinnati Bengals, some positive developments are emerging.
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In a true answer to prayer for millions of people, Hamlin has opened his eyes and has been holding hands with family in the hospital, according to his agent.
Doctors remain hopeful that Hamlin will be able to speak soon. In a press conference Thursday, doctors said Hamlin is awake and conscious. He wrote a note to physicians asking if the team won the game Monday.
“Did we win?” he asked, to which the doctors replied “Yes, Damar. You won. You won the game of life.”
Dr. Timothy Pritts, division chief of general surgery at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, said there has been “substantial improvement” over the past day, CNN reported.
“We had significant concern about him after the injury and after the event that happened on the field, but he’s making substantial progress,” Pritts said. “As of this morning, he is beginning to awaken, and it appears that his neurological condition and function is intact.”
Pritts cautioned that Hamlin continues to be critically ill and is still receiving intensive care, as doctors explore the cause of his cardiac arrest.
Ron Butler, Damar’s agent, confirmed the development as the Bills were scheduled to return to practice Thursday – the first time since Hamlin’s heart stopped in Monday night’s game.
Mario Hamlin, Damar’s father, also spoke with the entirety of the Bills team Wednesday, informing them his son is “making progress” after the terrifying ordeal, Fox News reported.
And on Thursday, Billy cornerback Kaiir Elam thanked the Lord for Hamlin’s progress.
“Our boy is doing better, awake and showing more signs of improvement,” he tweeted. “Thank you, God. Keep the prayers coming, please. All love 3!”
Our boy is doing better, awake and showing more signs of improvement. Thank you God. Keep the prayers coming please. All love 3!— Kaiir Elam (@kaiirelam5) January 5, 2023
The Bills also announced Thursday Hamlin has shown “remarkable improvement over the past 24 hours.”
“Per the physicians caring for Damar Hamlin at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, Damar has shown remarkable improvement over the past 24 hours,” a team statement read. “While still critically ill, he has demonstrated that he appears to be neurologically intact. His lungs continue to heal, and he is making steady progress.”
The statement continues, “We are grateful for the love and support we have received.”
His family said they are encouraged by all the prayers and support.
This is heartwarming.— TheGiantsWire (@TheGiantsWire) January 5, 2023
Giants fan notices a neighbor with a Bills flag and stops over to offer prayers for Damar Hamlin. https://t.co/kwQGToi8xR
“They are elated right now,” Hamlin’s marketing representative, Jordon Rooney said. “Damar is still their first concern. But for them, they always look at how they can turn a somewhat troubling situation into a good one. The bounce back from this, for him and his family, is going to be incredible.”
As CBN’s Faithwire reported, one of the most powerful moments of prayer came Tuesday night when ESPN analyst Dan Orlovsky prayed for Hamlin during NFL Live.
Orlovsky prayed this prayer:
“God we come to you in these moments that we don’t understand, that are hard, because we believe that You’re God, and coming to You and praying to You has impact. We’re sad, we’re angry, we want answers, but some things are unanswerable. We just want to pray, truly come to You and pray for strength for Damar, for healing for Damar, for comfort for Damar, to be with his family, to give them peace. If we didn’t believe that prayer … worked, we wouldn’t ask this of You, God. I believe in prayer, we believe in prayer, and we lift up Damar Hamlin’s name in Your name, Amen.”
Columnist Joshua Arnold writing for the Washington Stand said moments like this prayer are the only thing appropriate in times of crisis.
“This moment demonstrates that Christianity still maintains incredible cultural influence in America, despite decades of routine mockery and secular infiltration. When unexpected, unexplained tragedy strikes, ordinary citizens and influential people across America’s institutions alike turn to prayer,” he wrote.
“In matters of life and death, finding distraction in an entertaining ball game is inappropriate, insignificant quarreling is inappropriate, emotionless detachment is inappropriate. What is appropriate in a crisis is prayer, as thousands of Americans have recognized this week,” Arnold concluded.
Continue praying for the player’s full recovery.
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