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Damar Hamlin has reached a major milestone in his recovery

Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin spent Friday morning FaceTiming with friends, loved ones and teammates

SHARE Damar Hamlin has reached a major milestone in his recovery
A sign shows support for Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin outside the Bills’ stadium on Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2023.

A sign shows support for Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin outside Highmark Stadium on Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2023, in Orchard Park, N.Y.

Joshua Bessex, Associated Press

Four days after collapsing during a football game and going into cardiac arrest, Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin is breathing on his own and FaceTiming with his teammates, according to NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport.

“The breathing tube is out, and he’s spent the morning speaking to various teammates on Facetime. Now, he’s delivering a message to the entire group, I’m told,” Rapoport tweeted Friday morning.

Moments later, the Bills confirmed the good news in a separate tweet.

“Per the physicians at (University of Cincinnati Medical Center), Damar’s breathing tube was removed overnight. He continues to progress remarkably in his recovery. His neurologic function remains intact and he has been able to talk to his family and care team,” the Bills said.

Hamlin has been hospitalized since Monday night, when he collapsed during a Bills-Bengals game after being involved in a tackle. Although updates on his condition were vague early in the week, it was clear that he was in critical condition and not breathing on his own.

Reports began to emerge late Tuesday about Hamlin’s gradual improvement. On Thursday, UC Health doctors spoke with reporters and confirmed that the 24-year-old was truly on the mend, as the Deseret News previously reported.

“He is beginning to awaken and it appears his neurological condition and function is intact,” said Dr. Timothy Pritts on Thursday.

Pritts and his colleague said it was too early to say whether Hamlin will be able to play NFL football again.

The rest of the Bills will return to the field on Sunday to face the New England Patriots in their final game of the regular season. They’ve already clinched a spot in the NFL playoffs and are expected to make a deep run.

The Bills organization announced Friday that team members will wear jersey patches with “3” on them Sunday in honor of Hamlin, who wears that number. The team will also outline the “3” in the 30-yard-line markers on both sides of the field.

“All NFL clubs will have the option to outline the “3” in each 30-yard line number on the field in either Buffalo Bills red or blue. And during warm-ups all NFL players will have the option to wear black Nike t-shirts displaying “Love for Damar 3,” the team press release said.

The NFL has also invited teams to read a message of support for Hamlin and his care team ahead of the National Anthem this weekend, according to the press release.

The message says: “Throughout this week, the entire NFL family has been praying for Damar Hamlin of the Buffalo Bills as he continues his recovery, and we thank the first responders and medical professionals involved in his care. The (CLUB NAME) ask you to join us in a moment of support and love for Damar, and cheer for him and his family as they continue their fight.”