Just seconds after Buffalo Bills player Damar Hamlin collapsed on the field from cardiac arrest on Monday, medical personnel appeared on the field in an immediate response that was widely credited for the player’s steps toward the -recovery.
But one member of the Bills staff in particular – assistant athletic trainer Denny Kellington – was praised by head coach Sean McDermott for “saving Damar’s life.”
Bills offensive lineman Dion Dawkins said at tweet On Thursday it was Kellington who administered critical CPR to Hamlin, who doctors say lost his pulse on the field and had to be revived immediately through resuscitation and defibrillation.
“For an assistant to find himself in that position and to have to take the action that he did and step up and take responsibility like he did – and there were others on the field as well – it’s nothing short of amazing,” McDermott said of Kellington. during a news conference Thursday.
“And the courage it took – you speak of a real leader, a real hero to save Damar’s life and admire his strength.”
Hamlin was transported to the hospital, where he was sedated. On Thursday, his doctors announced that Hamlin had begun to wake up. Although he is still critically ill and on a ventilator, his medical team said the player is showing signs of “good neurological recovery” and is making significant improvements.
The immediate response of Kellington and other medical personnel was vital to “not only save his life, but his neurological function,” Dr. Timothy Pritts, one of Hamlin’s doctors at the University Medical Center Cincinnati, he said Thursday.
In cardiac arrest, the heart stops pumping blood, which means no oxygen travels to the brain or other organs. Seconds matter: The longer a person goes without oxygen, the chances of organ damage increase, and the chances of survival decrease. CPR mimics a pumping heart, which keeps the blood flowing, and a defibrillator shocks the heart, which can cause it to start beating again.
Kellington has been a member of the Bills’ coaching staff since 2017. Before joining the team, he was an athletic trainer at Syracuse University for 11 years, six of which were spent as the head athletic trainer for the football team, according to the university and Kellington’s LinkedIn. He also previously served as a graduate student athletic trainer at Ohio State University, the school confirmed to CNN.
If you don’t know how to perform CPR, watch this
In audio obtained by CNN of medical personnel responding from the sidelines, medical teams can be heard urgently asking everyone to respond the minute Hamlin collapsed at 8:55 pm ET.
At 8:55 pm ET, when Hamlin hit the ground, someone could be heard saying, “Go to the couch. I don’t like how it went down.”
A few seconds later, another voice says, “We’re going to need everyone. All call, all call.” In a minute, several more shouts go out for all the staff to rush to the field.
Between 9:12 and 9:20 pm, staff can be heard calling for another medic and emergency equipment for the ambulance.
The quick response of the medical teams that night has been repeatedly praised by NFL officials, Bills team members and doctors.
“It is certainly no exaggeration to say that the skill and immediate response from all these talented caregivers prevented a very tragic outcome at that moment,” the chief medical officer of -NFL Dr. Allen Sills.
Sills said the league conducts drills before the season to prepare for medical emergencies and also organizes briefings among medical teams before each game.
McDermott also opened the Bills’ news conference Thursday with a word of thanks for “the first responders on the field last Monday night and the medical teams of the Bills, Bengals and the staff, doctors and nurses at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center. for their work and care.”
Hear from the Colts player who visited Hamlin in the hospital