The health of Damar Hamlin, the American football player who suffered a cardiac arrest during a game, is “moving in a positive direction”, a friend has said.

Hamlin, 24, has been in a critical condition in hospital since Monday evening when he collapsed on the field in Cincinnati.

Jordon Rooney, his friend and business partner, said medics had seen signs of progress.

“Things are moving in a positive direction, what the doctors were looking to see I think they saw that,” he said.

“Things are moving in the right direction.”

Hamlin’s team, the Buffalo Bills, have said he remains in the intensive care unit at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center.

But the Bills also said that despite still being critical, there were “signs of improvement” on Tuesday and overnight.

More on Damar Hamlin

“He is expected to remain under intensive care as his health care team continues to monitor and treat him,” the team said in a tweet.

Mr Rooney said the player is still sedated and he also sought to clarify reports that Hamlin had to be resuscitated twice on the pitch.

“There were some reports last night that he was resuscitated twice, I wanted to clarify that was misspoke, he was only resuscitated once,” Mr Rooney said.

“Outside of that, things have just been moving in the right direction, but there’s not clarity at this point in terms of how long things are going to be, how long it’s going to take, where things are going to go.

“So for the family it’s just a matter of seeing more positive signs and hopefully keep building on that.”

Heart stopped before being ‘restored’ on pitch

The Buffalo Bills star was given CPR for around 10 minutes after he was injured following a tackle he made during the match against the Cincinnati Bengals.

The defensive back had collided with wide receiver Tee Higgins.

During the incident on the pitch, Higgins led with his right shoulder, which hit Hamlin in the chest.

Hamlin then wrapped his arms around Higgins’ shoulders and helmet to drag him down.

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Tearful players surround Damar Hamlin

Higgins managed to get to his feet and appeared to adjust his helmet before tumbling backwards and lying motionless.

The Bills said his heart stopped before his heartbeat was “restored” on the pitch by medical staff.

His football shirt was cut off and he was reportedly given oxygen.

Family express ‘sincere gratitude’

On Tuesday Hamlin’s family expressed their “sincere gratitude for the love and support” shown to him during “this challenging time” and thanked the first responders and hospital staff in Cincinnati.

They asked supporters to keep him in their prayers, and said: “We are deeply moved by the prayers, kind words and donations from fans around the country.”

His family added: “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 organisation and to have their support. We also want to thank Coach (Zac) 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.”

It has led to a surge in donations for a charitable campaign set up by Hamlin two years ago to purchase toys for children in need, with donations passing $6m (£5m).