The Buffalo Bills training staff received the Pat Tillman Award for Service at the 2023 ESPY Awards. The man who presented was, understandably, the person whose life they saved on one horrible January night.
Damar Hamlin narrated a staff tribute video, then received a standing ovation from the crowd at the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles as he welcomed the staff on stage. Once again, Hamlin and the coaches embraced emotionally.
Bills head athletic trainer Nate Breske delivered a speech, which included a plea to Hamlin: “Thank you for staying alive bro.”
It’s only been six months since Hamlin suffered a cardiac arrest on the field in a game against the Cincinnati Bengals, a period of time that saw Hamlin recover enough to be a full participant in the Bills OTA last month.
The Bills’ training staff has received a number of honors and recognitions beyond the ESPYs, the most unusual being coach Denny Kellington, who performed the life-saving CPS on Hamlin, receiving an NFL MVP vote at fifth place for Suzy Kolber, who later worked for ESPN. Later, Kellington said “I’m no hero. But I’ll tell you what I was that day: I was ready.”
The incident also saw Hamlin travel to the White House to advocate for defibrillators in schools as part of a wider campaign for more CPR training, to avert the worst if a young player were to live. his situation.