Recovering NFL star Damar Hamlin tells teammates 'love you boys' days after cardiac arrest

Damar Hamlin playing for the Buffalo Bills.
Damar Hamlin is signed to the Buffalo Bills NFL franchise. Credit: AP

American footballer Damar Hamlin is breathing on his own and has been able to speak to his Buffalo Bills teammates, just days after he suffered a cardiac arrest during a NFL game.

On Friday, he joined a team meeting for his franchise via a video link, telling them "love you boys".

Hamlin's heart stopped while he made what appeared to be a routine tackle in the first quarter of the Bills' game against the Cincinnati Bengals on Monday.

He was still listed on Thursday as being in a critical condition at the University of Cincinnati Medical Centre.

But an update issued by the Bills has revealed Hamlin's breathing tube has now been removed.

Aside from communicating by writing he has also been able to grip people’s hands.

Asked to describe the team meeting with Hamlin, his coach at the Bills, Sean McDermott, said: "I probably won’t be able to do it justice."

"Just to see Damar, number one, through my own eyes, it was something I was hoping to see and kind of something I needed to see... and to see the players' reaction, they stood up right away and started clapping for him and yelling some things," he said.

McDermott said he kept it a secret from the team before announcing he had "a treat in store" for them, putting Hamlin on the big screen in the meeting room.

"He’s just an infectious young man with an infectious personality," he added.

The sight of Hamlin collapsing, which was broadcast to a North American TV audience on ESPN’s "Monday Night Football" has led to an outpouring of support from fans and players alike.

A number of people - including NFL stars Tom Brady and Russell Wilson - have made donations to Hamlin’s Chasing M’s Foundation, which had raised more than $7.8 million (£6.4 million) by Friday morning.

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know.