When Nyheim Hines ran the opening kickoff against the New England Patriots 96 yards to the end zone for a Buffalo Bills touchdown on Sunday, Damar Hamlin was watching from his hospital room in Cincinnati.
Dr. Timothy Pritts, who’s helped lead the care for Hamlin over the past week at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, revealed on Monday that the 24-year-old could barely contain his excitement while watching the play.
“When the opening kickoff was run back, he jumped up and down, got out of his chair, and set every alarm off in the ICU in the process,” Dr. Pritts said. “But he was fine. It was just an appropriate reaction to a very exciting play. So he very much enjoyed it and enjoys the support from everyone.”
Pritts and Dr. William Knight announced on Monday that Hamlin was released from UCMC this morning and flew back to Buffalo to continue his recovery.
“I traveled with him to the airport this morning with our UC Health Aircare and mobile care crew, including teammates who were with us on the field when Damar Hamlin collapsed,” Dr. Knight said. “He landed safely and as standard as anybody who has gone through what he’s gone through this past week, and certainly after flying on a plane, he is going to be observed and monitored to ensure that there’s no impact on the flight of his condition or on his lungs.”
Hamlin tweeted on Monday that the staff at Buffalo General have already made him feel at home since arriving at the hospital earlier in the day.
“Headed home to Buffalo today with a lot of love on my heart,” Hamlin tweeted. “Watching the world come together around me on Sunday was truly an amazing feeling. The same love you all have shown me is the same love that I plan to put back into the world n more. Bigger than football!”
Dr. Pritts said that the outpouring of love and support from Buffalo was felt over the past week in Cincinnati as the team has helped Hamlin in his recovery.
“We’ve learned this week that the Bills Mafia is a very real thing,” Dr. Pritts said. “And we all feel the love from you all in Western New York. But you know, he watched the game yesterday.”
The doctors said that it’s too early to determine what Hamlin’s progress is going to look like in the days and weeks to come. Dr. Pritts isn’t sure when life will return completely to normal for Hamlin.
“I think it’s too premature to speculate with that,” he said. “He’s making great progress. His brain and neurological function is really normal. Right now it’s just a young man recovering from a very serious illness. We think that he will recover well from this and he has a great positive attitude. He originally asked who had won (the Bills-Bengals team), and his answer now to that is that we all won out of this.”