LOS ANGELES (AFP) — Buffalo Bills player Damar Hamlin was discharged from hospital in Cincinnati on Monday, Jan. 9, just a week after suffering a cardiac arrest during an NFL game, medical staff confirmed.
Hamlin was released from the University of Cincinnati Medical Center and flew to Buffalo where he will continue his recovery at another hospital.
"We are thrilled and proud to share that Damar Hamlin has been released from the hospital and returned to Buffalo," UC Medical Center said.
"He is doing well and this is the next stage of his recovery."
In separate posts on Twitter, Hamlin thanked medical staff in Cincinnati while paying tribute to the outpouring of goodwill across the sporting world.
"Grateful for the awesome care I received at UCMC," Hamlin wrote, adding that staff at his new hospital, Buffalo General Medical Center, have "already made me feel at home!"
"Watching the world come together around me on Sunday was truly an amazing feeling," Hamlin added in a separate tweet.
"The same love you all have shown me is the same love that I plan to put back into the world 'n more."
The 24-year-old safety was left in critical condition last Monday after collapsing during the Bills' clash with the Cincinnati Bengals, forcing the abandonment of the game.
The scary incident shocked the sports world and once again drew more scrutiny on the physically punishing nature of America's most popular sport.
Hamlin had made steady progress since being admitted to hospital last week, regaining consciousness on Wednesday before addressing team-mates via a video call on Friday.
University of Cincinnati Medical Center physician William Knight, who accompanied Hamlin to the airport before his transfer to Buffalo on Monday, cautioned it was still too early to say whether the Bills player would resurrect his NFL career.
'Premature' comeback talk
"I think we're in the same place -- it's entirely too premature to discuss not only his football, we're focused on his day-to-day recovery," Knight told reporters during a briefing.
"He still has a ways to go in terms of his recovery. We're thrilled where he is today. He's up, he's walking around, he has an amazing sense of humor.
"But in terms of any kind of conjecture about his future, that's still significantly into the future. It's going to be up to Damar."
Knight said doctors in Cincinnati had already been in contact with Hamlin's medical carers in Buffalo.
"I can confirm he is doing well and this is the beginning of the next stage of his recovery," he said.
UCMC physician Timothy Pritts added that Hamlin would face ongoing monitoring and tests to determine what had caused his cardiac arrest last week.
"We continue to be ecstatic about his recovery," Pritts said. "We anticipate that he will undergo an ongoing series of tests and evaluations to determine what caused the incident on Monday night."
Pritts meanwhile revealed that Hamlin had watched Buffalo's 35-23 victory over the New England Patriots on Sunday from his hospital room -- and had reacted wildly after team-mate Nyheim Hines returned the opening kick-off 96 yards for a touchdown.
"He was beyond excited," Pritts said. "When the opening kick off was run back he jumped up and down, got up out his chair and set off every alarm possible in the ICU in the process.
"It was an appropriate reaction to a very exciting play."
Pritts added meanwhile that the normal recovery time for someone in Hamlin's condition was in the range of "weeks to months."
"The goal for every patient who has suffered a serious illness or injury is to have them return to as close to baseline as possible," Pritts said.
"We anticipate that he will have likely ongoing needs – whether that is therapy or networking with various specialists.
"But he appears to be neurologically completely intact and there's no reason to believe that he won't continue his path to recovery."