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First question after waking up a sign of Damar Hamlin’s competitiveness, says Patriots quarterback Mac Jones

Related: Patriots preparing for Week 18 game against Bills throughout unprecedented week

NFL: DEC 01 Bills at Patriots Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin appears to show encouraging signs just days after suffering cardiac arrest in the first quarter of his team’s Monday night game in Cincinnati. On Thursday, two of the doctors monitoring the 24-year-old at UC Medical Center held a Q&A to address the biggest questions surrounding his status.

The most important news coming out of the session was that Hamlin has opened his eyes, and been able to communicate with the staff at UC Medical Center.

“He’s made substantial improvement,” Dr. Timothy Pritts said. “It appears his neurological condition and function is intact. We are very proud to report that. This marks a really good turning point in his ongoing care.”

Using hands, pen and paper, Hamlin’s first question to the hospital staff was, “Who won?” Doctors responded with, “You did. You won the game of life.”

Hamlin and his recovery were also front and center for the Bills’ upcoming opponent on Thursday. The New England Patriots returned to their normal media schedule after a two-day break, and shared their thoughts on the situation.

Among those taking the podium was quarterback Mac Jones, who opened his press conference by saying that the team’s “thoughts and prayers are with Damar and his family” and that he would be “just a great guy, and you can see all the support around the world.” Jones, who entered the league the same year as Hamlin, also was asked his thoughts on the Bills defender’s initial response after waking up.

“I think every update that we get in the locker room, everyone’s super excited to hear that each time he’s doing better. We’re all super excited,” he said. “Honestly, that’s pretty wild. You can tell that he’s a competitor, right? And that’s the first thing he’s asking and all that. I think that’s who we are as people. We love the game of football.

“Obviously, I’m just so glad he’s doing better and his family hopefully can start talking with him and doing all that stuff. Really just him and his family, prayers to them. He’s a great competitor and hope he has a speedy recovery here. All thoughts and prayers are with him and his family.”

Hamlin collapsed in the first quarter of Monday’s game, and had to receive CPR on the field. He was transported to UC Medical Center and remains there.