The assistant athletic trainer who performed live-saving CPR measures on Damar Hamlin in January 2nd’s Bengals-Bills game is being called a “hero” by everyone in the organization and larger sports community.
Denny Kellington leapt into action following Hamlin’s sudden collapse early in the first quarter of the now-canceled NFL contest. Hamlin was injured making a tackle against wideout Tee Higgns. He stood up following the completion of the play but within a few seconds fell backwards at the onset of his cardiac arrest.
“For an assistant to find himself at that position and needing to take the action that he did and step up and take charge like he did … is nothing short of amazing,” Bills coach Sean McDermott said during a press conference in reaction to Kellington’s heroic efforts to save the second-year wideout.
“The courage that that took … talk about a real leader, a real hero, in saving Damar’s life, and I just admire his strength,” he added.
.@BuffaloBills HC Sean McDermott praises assistant athletic trainer Denny Kellington who provided immediate care to Damar Hamlin on the field.
"You talk about a real leader, a real hero, in saving Damar's life." ❤️💙 pic.twitter.com/HuGyPBhm5g
— NFL (@NFL) January 5, 2023
The coach continued heaping praise on everyone involved in providing immediate and life-saving care to the injured Bills player.
“Our medical team, they go through mock exercises for things like this, but we are never around to see that when they do that,” he said. “As they say, practice pays off, and it did in this case.”