Monday night’s highly anticipated matchup between the Buffalo Bills and Cincinnati Bengals was suspended in the first quarter after Bills safety Damar Hamlin was injured and administered CPR on the field.

On Tuesday, Hamlin’s family released a statement thanking members of the NFL community for their support and asking for additional prayers.

“We want to express our sincere gratitude for the love and support shown to Damar during this challenging time. We are deeply moved by the prayers, kind words and donations from fans around the country,” the statement said.

The Hamlin family also thanked health care professionals who offered their expertise and leaders from the Bills and Bengals organizations.

“We feel so blessed to be part of the Buffalo Bills organization and to have their support. We also want to thank Coach (Zac) Taylor and the Bengals for everything they’ve done,” the statement said.

Monday’s unprecedented game suspension arose after Hamlin collapsed after being involved in a tackle. Video of the play shows him getting hit hard in the chest.

Hamlin was quickly met on the field by athletic trainers, who called for an ambulance. As health care professionals attended to him, Bills and Bengals players gathered together to pray.

Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen (17) pauses as Damar Hamlin is examined during the first half of an NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Monday, Jan. 2, 2023, in Cincinnati. | Jeff Dean, Associated Press

NFL fans who watched the scary situation unfold took to Twitter to share support for Hamlin and call for league leaders to end the game early.

“I don’t know how you can ask these players to step back onto the field and play tonight,” tweeted Bill Barnwell, a prominent sportswriter for ESPN.

After Hamlin left the field in an ambulance, officials announced that the game was temporarily suspended. Both teams then went to their locker rooms to collect themselves.

Joe Buck, the play-by-play announcer for the game, said the decision as to whether the game would resume rested with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.

Analyst Booger McFarland, who is offering commentary on the game for ESPN, was among those calling for Goodell to end the game early.

“Nobody is concerned about football right now. America is concerned about one thing: The health and safety of this young man,” he said.

Hamlin, who is 24, was a sixth-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.

About an hour after Hamlin’s injury, Buck announced that Goodell had officially suspended play for the rest of the night.

“Our thoughts are with Damar and the Buffalo Bills,” the league’s statement said. It noted that Hamlin is in critical condition at a Cincinnati hospital.

On Tuesday, the Buffalo Bills offered an update on Hamlin, noting that he has been in the Intensive Care Unit since being admitted to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center.

“We are grateful and thankful for the outpouring of support we have received thus far,” the team said.

Bengals owner Mike Brown also released a statement Tuesday, in which he thanked NFL fans for rallying around Hamlin.

“Last night was supposed to be a great night for the NFL and a great showcase for our hometown. Instead, the human side of our sport became paramount ... and in that moment, humanity and love rose to the forefront. As medical personnel undertook extraordinary measures, both teams demonstrated respect and compassion while fans in the stadium and people around the country bolstered the support for Damar and love for each other. The Bengals are thankful for the love and compassion shown by all,” Brown said.

On Monday night, Buck said the Bills and Bengals will work together to find a date to resume the game. The game will not be resumed this week, according to NFL Network insider Tom Pelissero.

“After speaking with both teams and NFLPA leadership, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell informed the clubs (Tuesday) that the Bills-Bengals game will not be resumed this week. The NFL has made no decision regarding the possible resumption of the game at a later date,” Pelissero reported.

There is just one week left of the NFL regular season.

Here’s a sampling of the many members of the football community sharing support for Hamlin on social media: