Buffalo Bills athletic trainer Denny Kellington reportedly received a fifth-place vote for the AP NFL MVP Award.
Kellington, who has been with the team since 2017, performed life-saving CPR on Bills safety Damar Hamlin after he suffered a cardiac arrest during his team’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals on Jan. 2. Per Rob Maaddi of the Associated Press, the vote came from ESPN “Monday Night Countdown” host Suzy Kolber.
“[It was a] symbolic gesture representing ‘everyone’ who carries the weight of that job, every week,” Kolber told the outlet. “They rarely get the recognition they deserve.”
Prior to joining the Bills, Kellington served as an athletic trainer at Syracuse University for 11 years. Six were spent as head athletic trainer for the football team. The NFL has praised Kellington and the Bills’ medical team for their rapid response in tending to Hamlin.
“It’s certainly not an exaggeration to say that the skilled and the immediate response by all of these talented caregivers prevented a very tragic outcome at that moment,” NFL chief medical officer Dr. Allen Sills said, via CNN.
Bills head coach Sean McDermott, meanwhile, spoke about Kellington while meeting with the media three days after Hamlin’s on-field collapse.
“To put in context, for an assistant to find himself at that position and needed to take the action that he did, and step up, and take charge like he did was nothing short of amazing and the courage that it took,” McDermott said. “You talk about a real leader and a real hero saving Damar’s life. I just admire his strength.”
Bills’ Damar Hamlin Returns to Home in Buffalo
Nine days after the medical emergency, Hamlin was discharged from the hospital. He spent a week at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center before being transported to the Buffalo General Medical Center/Gates Vascular Institute.
“We’re obviously grateful first and foremost that he’s home and with his parents and his brother, which is great,” McDermott said, via NFL.com. “I’m sure it’s felt like a long time since he’s been able to be home naturally there. And I’m sure it’s a great feeling.”