LOS ANGELES - Damar Hamlin was unable to hold back tears during Wednesday night’s ESPY Awards in Los Angeles.
Hamlin presented the Pat Tillman Award for service to the Buffalo Bills training staff, who was honored for saving the life of the safety after he went into cardiac arrest during a Monday Night Football game against the Cincinnati Bengals in January.
Bills trainers Nate Breske and Denny Kellington rushed onto the field and helped resuscitate Hamlin with CPR and an automated external defibrillator before an ambulance took Hamlin to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center. One week later, he flew home to western New York.
Six months after recovering from his on-field medical emergency, Hamlin honored the men and women who saved his life.
The staff received a standing ovation and huddled around Hamlin on stage, hugging him and patting his back, the Associated Press reported.
Damar Hamlin and Buffalo Bills Training Staff are seen onstage at The 2023 ESPYS held at Dolby Theatre on July 12, 2023 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Gilbert Flores/Variety via Getty Images)
"Damar, first and foremost, thank you for staying alive, brother," said Breske, head trainer for the Bills, according to the AP.
Breske urged support for funding for automated external defibrillators and CPR training, especially in underserved communities, as well as for athletic trainers in youth sports, the AP noted.
"Learn CPR and how to use an AED because they save lives," he said.
Nate Breske and Damar Hamlin at The 2023 ESPYS held at Dolby Theatre on July 12, 2023 in Los Angeles, California. (Christopher Polk/Variety via Getty Images)
Hamlin, the former University of Pittsburgh star, went from a sixth-round draft pick in 2021 to a starter last season.
Hamlin has since recovered and intends to play this fall.
The Associated Press contributed to this report. This story was reported from Washington, D.C.