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Damar Hamlin remains hospitalized after collapsing during a game with Cincinnati


Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin remains in critical condition in a Cincinnati hospital after he collapsed during Monday night's NFL game.


People held a vigil last night outside the University of Cincinnati Medical Center.


UNIDENTIFIED PEOPLE: (Singing) Amen. Amen.

INSKEEP: Fans also gathered at Highmark Stadium, which is the home venue of the Buffalo Bills, Hamlin's team. Hamlin tumbled down after he made a tackle during Monday night's game, as people across the country watched on TV.

SCHMITZ: Ann Thompson of WVXU in Cincinnati has been covering this story. Ann, do we have any new information about Hamlin's condition this morning?

ANN THOMPSON, BYLINE: We don't know much beyond the fact that he suffered a cardiac arrest following the hit. Crews did CPR to restore his heartbeat. The hospital sedated him and intubated him, meaning he has a breathing tube and is on a ventilator. All this so doctors can do a battery of tests. Hamlin's friend and marketing representative, Jordon Rooney, has said the hospital is doing those tests and seeing how he recovers. The UC Medical Center hasn't held a news conference or issued a statement, and we don't know when that might happen.

SCHMITZ: So Hamlin's family issued a statement thanking supporters during what they called a challenging time. What kind of reaction has there been there in Cincinnati?

THOMPSON: There has been an outpouring of support. Even people who don't follow football have had something to say, wanting the Hamlin family to know they're thinking of him. The city has been lit up in the Bills' colors. Dave Busch, who attended the games, said the collapse was eerie and shows how dangerous the game can be.

DAVE BUSCH: In sports, everyone looks at the contracts and how much these professional athletes are getting paid and things like that, but they don't understand the other side of it. I mean, this is when you see the other side, unfortunately, which is the dark side of this game.

THOMPSON: Don Byrd, who had watched the game at home, was out eating lunch with his nephew at a sports bar. He said he was really shaken up when he saw Hamlin drop to the ground.

DON BYRD: God bless him. I hope all's well with him. You know, I mean, who would have thunk (ph) - a routine play?

THOMPSON: And his nephew, 11-year-old Jeremiah Engel, said he was glad to see the teams come together.

JEREMIAH ENGEL: And it just shows that on screen they may, like, act like they hate each other, but really, they're actually - might be good friends in real life.

THOMPSON: And people nationwide have come together, donating money for Hamlin's Chasing M's Foundation for a toy drive. The goal was just 2,500.

SCHMITZ: Wow. There's so many people trying to process this. You know, the NFL announced that the Bengals-Bills game would not be rescheduled this week. Obviously, whether a game should be played again or not pales in comparison to the importance of Hamlin's condition. But for the NFL, where does this leave the rest of the season and the playoffs?

THOMPSON: Yeah. So in the Bills-Bengals game, they were playing for a first-round bye and home-field advantage. The NFL has said that the game is not going to be played this week. But at this point, fans seem more interested in the health of Damar Hamlin and, as you had mentioned, that they have been holding vigils outside the hospital.

SCHMITZ: That's Ann Thompson of member station WVXU in Cincinnati. Ann, thank you.

THOMPSON: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Rob Schmitz is NPR's international correspondent based in Berlin, where he covers the human stories of a vast region reckoning with its past while it tries to guide the world toward a brighter future. From his base in the heart of Europe, Schmitz has covered Germany's levelheaded management of the COVID-19 pandemic, the rise of right-wing nationalist politics in Poland and creeping Chinese government influence inside the Czech Republic.
With more than 30 years of journalism experience in the Greater Cincinnati market, Ann Thompson brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her reporting. She has reported for WKRC, WCKY, WHIO-TV, Metro Networks and CBS/ABC Radio. Her work has been recognized by the Associated Press and the Society of Professional Journalists. In 2019 and 2011 A-P named her “Best Reporter” for large market radio in Ohio. She has won awards from the Association of Women in Communications and the Alliance for Women in Media. Ann reports regularly on science and technology in Focus on Technology.

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