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Sean McDermott: Bills Trainer Denny Kellington 'A Real Hero' for Saving Damar Hamlin

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 5, 2023

DETROIT, MICHIGAN - NOVEMBER 20: Head coach Sean McDermott of the Buffalo Bills looks on against the Cleveland Browns at Ford Field on November 20, 2022 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images)
Nic Antaya/Getty Images

Buffalo Bills head coach Sean McDermott praised the efforts of assistant athletic trainer Denny Kellington, who promptly provided aid to Damar Hamlin after the Bills safety suffered cardiac arrest Monday night.

McDermott called Kellington a "real hero" who helped to save Hamlin's life. He said Kellington showed incredible initiative and courage.

NFL @NFL

.<a href="https://twitter.com/BuffaloBills?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@BuffaloBills</a> HC Sean McDermott praises assistant athletic trainer Denny Kellington who provided immediate care to Damar Hamlin on the field.<br><br>"You talk about a real leader, a real hero, in saving Damar's life." ❤️💙 <a href="https://t.co/HuGyPBhm5g">pic.twitter.com/HuGyPBhm5g</a>

Hamlin tackled Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins in the first quarter of Monday night's contest. After getting to his feet, the 24-year-old almost immediately collapsed.

Doctors and trainers quickly came to Hamlin's aid on the field, with Kellington performing CPR after Hamlin suffered cardiac arrest. He was placed in an ambulance and transported to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center.

On Thursday, Hamlin's physicians provided an update and said he made "substantial improvement in his condition over the past 24 hours." He has begun to share written communication with doctors, nurses and family members.

"It's not only that the lights are on. We know that he's home," Dr. Timothy Pritts said. "It appears all the cylinders are firing within his brain."

Dr. William Knight IV also emphasized how critical it was for Kellington and the Bills training staff to quickly identify the severity of the situation and act appropriately.

"Not just saving his life, but his neurologic function," Dr. Knight said. "The reason why we're talking about his recovery of neurologic function is the true critical importance of immediate and good and high-quality CPR and immediate access to the defibrillation."

Hamlin remains hospitalized and in intensive care.