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The latest on Damar Hamlin after he collapsed in Monday night's game

JUANA SUMMERS, HOST:

Damar Hamlin remains hospitalized, in critical condition, after suffering cardiac arrest in an NFL game last night. He collapsed in the first quarter of the matchup between his Buffalo Bills and the Cincinnati Bengals. The game was postponed after Hamlin was transported by ambulance to a hospital. NPR's Tom Goldman joins me now. Hi, Tom.

TOM GOLDMAN, BYLINE: Hi, Juana.

SUMMERS: So, Tom, what's the latest news on Damar Hamlin's condition?

GOLDMAN: We're not getting a lot - bits and pieces, mostly from his team. And this afternoon, the Bills released a short statement. It read, Damar Hamlin spent last night in the intensive care unit and remains there today, in critical condition, at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center. We are grateful and thankful for the outpouring of support we have received thus far. Now, there have been no details from UC Medical Center doctors about Hamlin - about what caused his cardiac arrest, which followed what appeared to be a fairly routine tackle in last night's game. I spoke to a UC Health spokeswoman this afternoon and asked if there were any updates or press briefings scheduled, and the spokeswoman said, not at this time.

SUMMERS: So have we heard anything today from his family? I understand that family members were at the game last night, and reports say that his mother rode with him in the ambulance to the hospital.

GOLDMAN: Yeah, that's right. In a tweet today titled from the family of Damar Hamlin, it said, we want to express our sincere gratitude for the love and support shown to Damar during this challenging time. We are deeply moved by the prayers, kind words and donations from fans around the country. Now, it's pretty extraordinary, Juana, what's happened with those donations. Damar Hamlin started a GoFundMe page last month to raise money for Christmas toys for underprivileged kids. His original goal was $2,500. At last check, donations were more than $4.5 million and climbing. The family's tweet also acknowledges the first responders at last night's game who tended to Hamlin almost immediately after he collapsed. Their efforts - using CPR and reportedly a defibrillator - were critical in getting his heart restarted on the field. The family also acknowledged the health care professionals at the UC Medical Center who have been treating Hamlin since last night.

SUMMERS: So Tom, through these terrifying circumstances, Damar Hamlin is suddenly a household name. But what else...

GOLDMAN: Yeah.

SUMMERS: ...What can you tell us about him?

GOLDMAN: Yeah, you know, it's safe to say, outside of Buffalo or Pittsburgh, where he played in college, he was not well known - only 24, in just his second year in the NFL. His foundation and toy drive tells you something about who he is. And also, in an interview on the program "One Bills Live," Hamlin talked about how special it's been to play alongside Buffalo defensive back Dane Jackson, who's a few years older than Hamlin, but the two were childhood friends and college teammates before playing in the NFL together. Here's Damar.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

DAMAR HAMLIN: Just having someone like Dane just being able to just play with me, it feels so surreal. Like, I can't even describe it, but I cherish it every second that I can - you know, every second of every day. We just had our prayer - our DB prayer we do every Wednesday - outside. He was next to me, and I just grabbed his hand a little bit harder just 'cause, you know, you never know when, like, the last day could be that you getting to experience something like this, you know? So I'm just - I'm cherishing it every moment I can.

SUMMERS: And of course, amid all of this, a lot of minds not on football, but this did happen during a game last night. About an hour after Hamlin collapsed, the NFL postponed that game. Are there any updates about what might happen there?

GOLDMAN: Yeah. The NFL said today in a statement the Bills/Bengals game will not be resumed this week. The league said the decision came after speaking with both teams and leaders of the players' union. The NFL hasn't made a decision on possibly resuming the game at a later date. You know, this all comes during the last week of the regular season, when teams are jockeying for playoff position. In fact, last night's game was a highly anticipated one. Buffalo and Cincinnati are two of the NFL's best teams, and the outcome would have helped determine who gets a bye at the start of the playoffs - not significant, though, right now, for obvious reasons.

SUMMERS: NPR's Tom Goldman. Thank you, Tom.

GOLDMAN: You're welcome. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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Tom Goldman
Tom Goldman is NPR's sports correspondent. His reports can be heard throughout NPR's news programming, including Morning Edition and All Things Considered, and on NPR.org.