How the next 12 to 24 hours unfold will play a crucial role in the recovery of Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin, who suffered cardiac arrest during Monday (January 2) night's game against the Cincinnati Bengals, an emergency room specialist told CNN early Tuesday (January 3) morning.
All eyes are on Hamlin's recovery after the 24-year-old safety collapsed on-field Monday night following a tackle on Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins. Hamlin was on his feet after the tackle, but seconds later, he fell to the ground on his back.
Medical personnel administered CPR on the field and were able to revive his heartbeat almost immediately after the collapse. The Bills later said Hamlin's collapse was due to cardiac arrest and that their safety was in critical condition at a Cincinnati hospital.
Emergency room specialist Dr. Anthony Cardillo said Hamlin's recovery will depend on how long he stayed in cardiac arrest following the mid-game collapse.
"The primary concern is the length of time that he was not having cardiac activity,” Cardillo said. “Every second counts.”
As Hamlin continues to receive medical treatment, Cardillo told CNN that doctors will likely begin weaning Hamlin off a ventilator over the next 12 to 24 hours to see if he can breathe on his own.
"We know that he's a young 24, healthy, conditioned athlete. He's in the greatest possible situation to come back to a normal life at this point, but our prayers are with him to make sure he does recover like that,” Cardillo said.
Following the suspension of Monday night's game, Hamlin received an outpour of support from fans, celebrities, and athletes alike, including Higgins, who the safety tackled moments before his collapse.
"My prayers and thoughts go out to @HamlinIsland the Hamlin Family. I’m praying that you pull through bro. Love," Higgins tweeted Monday night.