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Damar Hamlin Joins Bills in Locker Room Before Bengals Game After Cardiac Arrest

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 22, 2023

Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin (3) looks on between plays during the first half of a NFL football game against the Baltimore Ravens, Sunday, Oct. 2, 2022, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Terrance Williams)
AP Photo/Terrance Williams

Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin joined his teammates in the locker room ahead of Sunday's AFC Divisional Round game against the Cincinnati Bengals.

Buffalo Bills @BuffaloBills

Welcome home, <a href="https://twitter.com/HamlinIsland?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@HamlinIsland</a>. ❤️💙<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/CINvsBUF?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#CINvsBUF</a> | <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/BillsMafia?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#BillsMafia</a> <a href="https://t.co/OG88gibcVv">pic.twitter.com/OG88gibcVv</a>

Dianna Russini @diannaESPN

Damar Hamlin is with the team right now in the locker room. I was told <br>he's not going to be coming out on the field .

This is the first Bills game Hamlin has attended since suffering cardiac arrest during their Week 17 matchup with the Bengals. Denny Kellington, an assistant athletic trainer for Buffalo, was credited with helping to save his life by quickly administering CPR on the field.

Three days after his medical emergency, the physicians caring for the 24-year-old cited "substantial improvement in his condition over the past 24 hours." Among the signs of progress was his ability to communicate with the aid of a clipboard.

"It's not only that the lights are on. We know that he's home," Dr. Timothy Pritts said. "It appears all the cylinders are firing within his brain."

By Jan. 11, the Bills announced Hamlin had recovered enough to be discharged from the hospital altogether.

Hamlin's family issued a statement to ESPN's Coley Harvey on Jan. 19 cautioning that he still had a long journey ahead.

"Despite being out of the hospital, Damar still has a lengthy recovery," the family said. "Damar still requires oxygen and is having his heart monitored regularly. He has visited with the team a few times but he still gets winded very easily."

Hamlin has at least been able to maintain a presence at the Bills' team facility again, with head coach Sean McDermott describing it as "limited."

"But he comes in and really just started really today or yesterday and just trying to get back to a little bit of a routine and just get himself acclimated again and taking it one step, one baby step at a time here," McDermott told reporters Wednesday.