Pittsburgh Steelers head coach in message to Damar Hamlin after cardiac arrest

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Damar Hamlin was taken to hospital in an ambulance after suffering a cardiac arrest (Image: Getty Images)
Damar Hamlin was taken to hospital in an ambulance after suffering a cardiac arrest (Image: Getty Images)

Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin appeared to hold back tears as he gave an emotional message of support to Damar Hamlin, with the Buffalo Bills star still in a critical condition in hospital. Hamlin suffered a cardiac arrest on Monday Night Football against the Cincinnati Bengals.

Hamlin, 24, collapsed after making a routine tackle on Tee Higgins, with paramedics immediately rushing onto the field. After six minutes of CPR and the use of a defibrillator to restart his heart, he was taken to hospital. He remains in a critical condition.

Fans, players and coaches from around the NFL have sent messages of support to the Bills' safety, and a fundraiser he set up for underprivileged children has raised more than $4.2million - having had a target of just $2,500.

The final week of regular season games, which will take place this weekend, seem inconsequential in the wake of Hamlin's condition, but coaches were still put up for press conferences on Tuesday. And Tomlin, who, like Hamlin, is from Pittsburgh, was visibly emotional as he spoke to media.

He said: "I'll say this about Damar Hamlin. Man, it's a really personal thing for me being a Pittsburgher. And that young man be a Pittsburgher, I've known that guy, probably since he was about 12. I just got a lot of respect and love for him as a human being, his commitment to the pursuit of his goals and dreams of doing what it is he's doing right now, which is playing in the NFL, and to watch him make personal decisions and make that a realisation.

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"It's just an honour to get to know young people like that. Had an opportunity to express that to him, whenever I see him. We've played Buffalo each of the last two seasons, and he and I get to have a moment because it's just cool to not only appreciate these guys in terms of where they are now, but to know them since they were younger people and to watch their maturation their development, to watch them, you know, earn what they've been chasing. It's just really a cool thing. And he's an example of that I got a lot of love for that young man."

Pittsburgh Steelers head coach in message to Damar Hamlin after cardiac arrestMike Tomlin was visibly upset as he spoke about Damar Hamlin

In a statement released earlier on Tuesday evening, Hamlin's family expressed their gratitude at the outpouring of love for the 24-year-old. They said: "On behalf of our family, 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.

"We also want to acknowledge the dedicated first responders and healthcare professionals at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center who have provided exceptional care to Damar. We feel so blessed to be part of the Buffalo Bills organization and to have their support.

"We also want to thank Coach Taylor and the Bengals for everything they've done. Your generosity and compassion mean the world to us. Please keep Damar in your prayers. We will release updates as soon as we have them."

Daniel Blackham

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