The NFL will not be rescheduling Monday night’s game between the Buffalo Bills and the Cincinnati Bengals following Damar Hamlin’s on-field collapse.
In an announcement shared to the Bills’ Twitter Thursday night, the team revealed that the NFL has ruled the week 17 game a “no contest” and has canceled the matchup between the pair.
“The NFL has announced our Week 17 game against the Cincinnati Bengals will not be resumed and has been canceled,” the post read.
Adding more context in the caption, the Bills added, “The NFL has announced our Week 17 game will be a no contest.”
As for what’s next, the Bills shared that a special league meeting will be held to vote on the possibility of the AFC Championship game being played at a neutral site.
The NFL also shared their full statement, explaining their decision and expressing their well-wishes for Hamlin after what NFL commissioner, Roget Goddell called “a very difficult week.”
“This has been a very difficult week,” Goodell said in a statement. “We continue to focus on the recovery of Damar Hamlin and are encouraged by the improvements in his condition as well as the tremendous outpouring of support and care for Damar and his family from across the country.”
As for what this means for the rest of the season, the NFL shared three scenarios that they are still working to decide on, that could determine the outcome of the post-season.
The NFL’s decision comes after a news conference, held Thursday at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, revealed that Hamlin is awake and making strides toward recovery since suffering a cardiac arrest during Monday night’s game.
Hamlin is still in critical condition, however, with Dr. Timothy Pritts and Dr. William Knight IV sharing that they’ve seen “substantial improvement” in Hamlin over the last 24 hours. The doctors also added that his neurological appears “intact.” Hamlin remains “critically ill” and in “critical condition.”
The cause of the cardiac arrest is still not known, and doctors said tests are ongoing to determine the cause. As for Hamlin’s immediate recovery timeline, doctors said they would like to see more improvement, which includes Hamlin breathing on his own and then being discharged. Hamlin still has a breathing tube assisting him with ventilation but has been communicating by writing.
That being said, doctors said Hamlin has “a long way to go from the liberation of the ventilator,” so the next big milestone is to see him breathing on his own.
“We sort of view the ventilator as an aid for him as he needs it. And so you know, after the initial event, we were supporting him on the ventilator 100 percent,” Pritts explained. “And what our goal really is for liberation from mechanical ventilation is to gradually decrease the amount of support and let him pick up the difference and when we reach zero percent support, breathing tube comes out, and we define that as success.”
Doctors added it’s entirely too early to have a conversation as to whether Hamlin can return to the NFL. In the meantime, family and teammates have been by Hamlin’s bedside since the scary incident.
And Hamlin’s spirits are up too, with the Pritts sharing that the 24-year-old had penned quite the question after waking up following days of sedation.
“When he asked, ‘Did we win?’ the answer is, ‘Yes, Damar, you won. You’ve won the game of life,'” said Pritts, the Division Chief of General Surgery at UC Health. “That’s probably the most important thing out of this, and we really need to keep him at the center of what’s going on.”
Source: ET Online