BUFFALO, N.Y. -- After more than nine days in two hospitals, Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin was discharged from Buffalo General Medical Center/Gates Vascular Institute, the team announced Wednesday.
Hamlin is now back at his home in Buffalo with his family. He went through a series of comprehensive medical evaluations as well as a series of cardiac, neurological and vascular testing on Tuesday.
Dr. Jamie Nadler, critical care physician and chief quality officer at Kaleida Health, which runs Buffalo General, and the care team lead for Hamlin, said in a statement: "We have completed a series of tests and evaluations, and in consultation with the team physicians, we are confident that Damar can be safely discharged to continue his rehabilitation at home and with the Bills."
Bills coach Sean McDermott said that they will leave it up to Hamlin when he would like to return to the team facility.
"His health is first and foremost on our mind as far as this situation," McDermott said. "And then when he feels ready, we will welcome him back."
Hamlin had been at the hospital in Buffalo since Monday after he was released from the University of Cincinnati Medical Center. He spent almost a week at the hospital in Cincinnati after suffering cardiac arrest during the first quarter of a "Monday Night Football" game between the Bills and the Bengals. The game was initially postponed after Hamlin collapsed on the field and then canceled days later.
Hamlin, 24, was flown to Buffalo on Monday and admitted to Buffalo General but entered the hospital in stable condition. The team at the hospital in Buffalo was tasked with "identifying any possible causes of the event, potentially treat any pathology that may be found, as well as plan for his recovery, discharge and rehabilitation," according to a release from Kaleida Health, which oversees the hospital.
Hamlin was joined by his parents, Mario and Nina, and his 7-year-old brother, Damir, at the hospital on Tuesday. His brother was unable to visit him in the ICU in Cincinnati due to rules to prevent the spread of flu and RSV, according to Bills general manager Brandon Beane.
Bills players were given Monday and Tuesday off to reset, and quarterback Josh Allen shared that teammates have not been able to see Hamlin yet, as he continues to rest, but that they are eager to do so when he is ready.
"I know some guys were chomping at the bit to go see them, but against doctor's orders, just making sure that he's getting his rest from recovery and taking it slow, and obviously just trying to trying to get back to being himself," Allen said. "So, we'll take all the time that we need. But I hope he knows the guys are ready to see him."
In the days after he suffered cardiac arrest, Hamlin received support from all over the world with millions of dollars being donated to his GoFundMe toy drive as part of his Chasing Millions foundation. The 2021 sixth-round pick out of Pittsburgh has prioritized giving back to his community in McKees Rocks, Pennsylvania, and in Pittsburgh, and being an example for kids there. NFL teams showed their support for Hamlin in a variety of ways, including with blue-and-red stadium lights, T-shirts with "Love for Damar" and moments of prayer and celebrations of his recovery.
"It's a blessing, you know," Bills left tackle Dion Dawkins said of Hamlin returning home. "Like that just shows the type of kid that he is, that he's fought and he's continuing to win. ... There's no place that he would like rather be than in his own bed, so blessings to him."
Bills players returned to the field Sunday for the first time since Hamlin's cardiac arrest with their win over the New England Patriots, but the focus of the game was all on Hamlin, with players wearing jerseys with "3" patches on them and the Bills' medical and athletic training staff recognized before the game. Fans throughout the stadium supported Hamlin with signs, while players held up three fingers throughout the game.
Hamlin has also started selling t-shirts with his now signature hands forming a heart symbol and the words, "Did we win?" the first question he asked via writing when he woke up. All proceeds from the shirts are going to first-responders and the University of Cincinnati Trauma Center. Over $8 million was raised via a GoFundMe for Hamlin's Chasing M's Foundation Toy Drive while he was in the hospital and that GoFundMe has since been closed with donation efforts shifting to a new charitable fund for Chasing M's.
While Hamlin returns home, the Bills are practicing with him in mind as they prepare to face the Miami Dolphins.
"I feel really good about where [Hamlin's health and well-being] is though, and the fact that he's home with his parents," McDermott said. "And for us -- as Damar's dad has said to us multiple times and Damar has mentioned as well -- they want us to go do our job, and that's what we've got to do."