Damar Hamlin Tears Up While Presenting Pat Tillman Award At The 2023 ESPYs

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Damar Hamlin, a talented 25-year-old athlete, had the opportunity to express his gratitude and give back to his Buffalo Bills family in a significant way during the 2023 ESPY Awards.

Overwhelmed with emotion, he took a moment to reflect on the day that nearly cost him his life.At the awards ceremony, Hamlin took the stage to present the Pat Tillman Award for Service to the team’s training staff. This prestigious honor recognized their pivotal role in providing life-saving medical care to Hamlin after a near-fatal incident during a game against the Cincinnati Bengals in January.

With deep sincerity, Hamlin introduced a video that he narrated, recounting how the training staff became his heroes and ultimately saved his life. In the heartfelt footage, he acknowledged the training staff’s dedication, expertise, and selflessness, highlighting their crucial actions that kept him alive.Hamlin shared his profound realization, stating, “I never anticipated needing someone to save my life that day in January, and I doubt the training staff expected to perform such a heroic act. It reminded me that any of us, at any given moment, are capable of extraordinary acts like saving a life and living in service of others. It truly is a blessing.”As the video came to an end, Hamlin wiped away tears, overwhelmed by his gratitude for the training staff and the memories of the harrowing incident.

The entire audience rose to their feet in a standing ovation, cheering for the young athlete and his unwavering resilience. The training and medical team who played a pivotal role in saving Hamlin’s life stepped forward to accept the award. Before delivering their speech, they embraced one another in a heartfelt group hug, celebrating the powerful moment together.

Speaking on behalf of the staff, Head Athletic Trainer Nate Breske reflected on the incident, stressed the importance of learning CPR, and expressed their deep appreciation for Hamlin’s strength.With a warm smile, Breske addressed Hamlin, saying, “Damar, above all else, thank you for persevering. We are incredibly honored to stand here with such a courageous and resilient human being.”This award presentation became one of the most unforgettable and emotional moments of the ESPY Awards.

Damar Hamlin Tears Up While Presenting Pat Tillman Award At The 2023 ESPYs
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During the Bills’ Week 17 game on Monday Night Football, Hamlin collided with Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins, collapsing as he attempted to stand back up. Assistant Athletic Trainer Denny Kellington immediately sprung into action, performing life-saving CPR on Hamlin.Hamlin was swiftly transported to UC Medical Center by ambulance, receiving CPR and automated external defibrillation (AED) before his arrival. He remained in critical condition for an extended period, requiring resuscitation on two occasions and assistance from a ventilator due to lung damage sustained during the game.The game was halted and ultimately canceled due to the severity of the situation.Four days after his cardiac arrest, Hamlin regained consciousness and could communicate with his family and teammates.

His first question was about the outcome of the game. The Bills not only paid tribute to Hamlin during their first game following the traumatic event but also honored the medical staff responsible for saving his life. In his initial interview since the incident, Hamlin spoke with former NFL player Michael Strahan, co-anchor of Good Morning America, about his remarkable recovery and potential return to the field.

Strahan specifically acknowledged Kellington, who had alerted the sideline staff to the seriousness of Hamlin’s medical condition.Hamlin expressed his indebtedness to Kellington, stating, “I owe Denny my life, quite literally. He likes to say he was just doing his job, which is true. And that night, he was genuinely my savior.”He continued, “I am sincerely grateful and will never take it for granted.”The Tillman Award is bestowed annually upon a group with strong ties to sports who exemplify the legacy of former NFL player and U.S. Army Ranger, Pat Tillman. Tillman played for the Arizona Cardinals but left his professional football career to serve in the military less than a year after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Tragically, he lost his life to friendly fire while deployed in 2004.

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