Denny Kellington, the Buffalo Bills assistant athletic trainer credited with delivering life-saving CPR to Damar Hamlin after the player collapsed on the field, received a vote for the NFL’s most valued player award.
The nod reportedly came from ESPN reporter Suzy Kolber who said that she voted for Kellington was a “symbolic gesture representing ‘everyone’ who carries the weight of that job, every week. They rarely get the recognition they deserve,” the New York Post reported.
The MVP award, tallied among the votes of 50 sports journalists who cover the NFL, is awarded based on each voter’s top five picks. And Kellington received one fifth-place vote.
Hamlin has also been full of praise for Kellington’s efforts to deliver CPR after the player collapsed with cardiac arrest during the Jan. 2 game between the Bills and Cincinnati Bengals.
“I owe Denny my life, literally. You know he loves to say he was just doing his job, which is true that night. He was literally the savior of my life, you know, administering CPR on me,” Hamlin said in a Friday interview with ABC’s “Good Morning America.”
“Like he will say he was doing his job,” Hamlin continued, “but if it wasn’t for someone showing up that day with a clear mind and whatever’s going on in their personal life, just to put it aside and just to be present in the moment to actually be able to do their job correctly, that’s something I’m truly thankful for, and I don’t take for granted.”
Physician William Knight told the AP last month that the staffers delivered “really outstanding” care to Hamlin after his collapse and added that without the immediate response by the medical staffers, Hamlin likely would not have survived the trip to the hospital.
Bills head coach Sean McDermott also praised Kellington after the fateful events that night, calling him a “real hero.”
“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, and there were others on the field as well – is nothing short of amazing,” he said, adding, “You talk about a real leader, a real hero, in saving Damar’s life – I just admire his strength.”
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