It is an answer to prayer for millions of people.
Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin is breathing on his own and able to talk after having his breathing tube removed, according to his agent.
In a statement Friday, the Bills announced that Hamlin "continues to progress remarkably" and his "neurologic function remains intact."
Doctors were hopeful that Hamlin would be able to speak soon after he woke and became conscious Thursday. The Bills announced Friday that the 24-year-old talked to players and coaches via FaceTime.
Damar Hamlin FaceTimed into our team meeting today to talk to players and coaches.
What he said to the team: “Love you boys.” pic.twitter.com/8dorrWNaxt
— Buffalo Bills (@BuffaloBills) January 6, 2023
In a press conference Thursday, doctors said Hamlin 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.”
Ron Butler, Damar's agent, confirmed early Thursday that Damar opened his eyes and held hands with family in the hospital just as the Bills were scheduled to return to practice for the first time since Hamlin's heart stopped in Monday night's game.
— Buffalo Bills (@BuffaloBills) January 5, 2023
Hamiln went into cardiac arrest following a collision with Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins in the first quarter.
He briefly got up and adjusted his facemask before falling backward.
He had to be resuscitated on the field.
The moment he collapsed became a catalyst for an army of prayer warriors to intercede on his behalf for his complete healing recovery.
A new sign pops up outside of UC Medical Center. Dontay McCall of Banacom Signs, a local Cincinnati business, shares his support of Damar Hamlin.
"To his family and to the whole Buffalo organization, we just wanted to let them know that we're praying." pic.twitter.com/K5cVQY0ePx
— Keith Jenkins (@MrKeithJenkins) January 5, 2023
From New York to Cincinnati, Ohio, and everywhere in between – including Live on ESPN – millions have prayed for the young man.
One of the most impactful tributes to Damar Hamlin I have seen.
The Amanda Elzy (MS) football team praying for Damar and his family, plus explaining the impact it had on them.
Courtesy: Brandice Williams Facebook pic.twitter.com/WryhFUC7oW
— Blake Levine (@blake_levine) January 5, 2023
And now those prayers are being answered.
BREAKING: Bills safety Damar Hamlin is awake and holding hands with family members.
Amazing news. Praise God.
— Charlie Kirk (@charliekirk11) January 5, 2023
The Buffalo Bills and cornerback Kaiir Elam tweeted updates on Hamlin Thursday morning.
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
"Our boy is doing better, awake and showing more signs of improvement," he wrote. "Thank you, God. Keep the prayers coming please. All love 3!"
His family said they are encouraged by all the prayers and support.
"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.
This is heartwarming.
Giants fan notices a neighbor with a Bills flag and stops over to offer prayers for Damar Hamlin. https://t.co/kwQGToi8xR
— TheGiantsWire (@TheGiantsWire) January 5, 2023
Hundreds have held prayer vigils outside of the University of Cincinnati Medical Center.
And others like Colts safety Rodney Thomas made the two-hour drive from Indianapolis to Cincinnati on Tuesday just to be by the side of his former high school teammate.
"He's a fighter. I know he's a fighter and there's no other thought in my mind other than him walking out under his own power," Thomas said Wednesday.
Tee Higgins, the Bengals player who was tackled by Hamlin Monday, has also been in constant contact with his family, outlets report.
"All signs point to him being a great human being who genuinely cares and feels bad, and the family feels bad that Tee would have any guilt towards the situation," Rooney said of Higgins.
Meanwhile, fans, team owners, and players - including Tom Brady and Russell Wilson - continue to make donations to Hamlin's Chasing M's Foundation, which had raised more than $7 million by Thursday afternoon.
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