The football world got a bit of some uplifting news Thursday regarding Bills safety Damar Hamlin after he collapsed on the field in Cincinnati and went into cardiac arrest after making a tackle in the first quarter of Monday night's game.
A pair of physicians from the Cincinnati hospital Hamlin is currently being treated spoke via a Zoom call, updating that the Bills safety has made "substantial improvement in his condition over the past 24 hours." Hamlin remains in intensive care but is now responsive and communicating with doctors through writing — including asking them the result of the game.
Hamlin remained on the hearts and minds of the Chargers on Thursday.
"One thing that made me smile today when I seen the update on him and his first question to the doctors was, 'Who won the game?'," Chargers safety Derwin, James, Jr. said. "That kind of let me know he love the game of ball, and that's really what it's about."
James, who plays the same position as Hamlin, expressed his support for Hamlin and his family on Thursday. James said that watching videos of Hamlin's bond with his mother, Nina, and 7-year-old brother, Damir, in the last couple of days has made it hit closer to home.
"It hurts, especially seeing someone that plays the same position, same number you wear, the same everything, to go down like that," James said. "Especially, playing the game you love. I remember just watching the video of him and his mom and the bond they have, she's just happy to be there. I could only imagine what she's going through right now.
"All I've been doing is praying for them and guys in the locker room have been doing the same. Just trying to lift his family, lift his spirit," James added.
Chargers Defensive Coordinator Renaldo Hill also spoke on Thursday and offered a different perspective. Hill spent three seasons as the University of Pittsburgh defensive backs coach, two of those coaching Hamlin.
Throughout Hill's time at Pitt, he not only got to recruit Hamlin to the university, but also grow a bond with Hamlin and his family.
"Yeah, it's been tough," Hill said of the last few days. "Obviously, you try to stay in communication with the family and other players. It's definitely hard because you gain those relationships and those players immediately become your family.
"You spend time with Nina and Mario and get to know them and what they represent," Hill added. "For them to be put in that position, you hate for anybody to go through, but that personal connection and relationship — knowing his little brother was watching, it's just tough."
Since the incident occurred, there have been many great stories speaking glowingly about Hamlin about the type of person he is. Hill spoke about that, adding in how that was evident since the day Hamlin arrived at Pitt.
"Just a great person," Hill said about Hamlin. "Obviously, he comes from a winning program. Even when he arrived on campus, it was all about winning and how he could help the community. It was more about being close to him so he could change the way people view Pitt, change the way he impacts young people in the community so they could see him play up close and personal.
"To be around his family, just a very supportive family. Just an outstanding young man," Hill added. "He's a winner. He's doing everything, and has always done everything, to support his community and family and make sure he lifts the people that he's around up. That's been him since Day 1."
The unity everyone has shown during this time stands out as Hamlin continues to recover, as Thursday's positive news helped uplift spirits.
"It's good to see the reports coming out on him, him responding," Hill said. "The power of prayer definitely works because there's a lot of people he's touched along the way.
"It's good to see people come together in times like this," Hill added. "Just happy for the response he's been getting. Shout out to the medical people, they've done a great job of being fast and being ready to roll."
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