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NFL fans say the trainer who gave Damar Hamlin life-saving CPR should be in the Hall of Fame

Who’s more deserving of the NFL’s highest honor than Denny Kellington?

damar hamlin, denny kellington, buffalo bills

Washington Football Team at. Buffalo Bills from Highmark Stadium, Buffalo, NY September 26th, 2021

The most touching moment during Week 18 of the NFL season was after veteran Buffalo Bills wide receiver John Brown made a thrilling 42-yard diving catch for a touchdown. When he returned to the sidelines, he quietly gave the game ball to Bills assistant trainer Denny Kellington.

It was a gesture of thanks for Kellington’s quick thinking during the January 2 Monday night contest versus the Bengals when his actions helped save Bills safety Damar Hamlin’s life. Hamlin collapsed on the field after suffering cardiac arrest and needed immediate resuscitation and defibrillation. Kellington administered CPR on Hamlin before the defibrillator restored his pulse.

Kellington took immediate action administering CPR and it's a major reason why Hamlin is still alive today. Dr. William Knight IV, who treated Hamlin at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, praised Kellington and the Bills training staff for their heroic actions.


“We cannot credit their team enough,” Knight said, noting that Hamlin needed “immediate bystander CPR, which ... rarely ever happens."

"There are injuries occasionally that happen on sports fields, be it in football or others, but it is incredibly rare to have something be this serious (and) that quickly recognized," Knight said. "Meeting the standard of what we would expect in that scenario is what has allowed us to be able to discuss these good outcomes today."

Bills head coach Sean McDermott also praised Kellington at a press conference.

“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 … is nothing short of amazing,” McDermott said. “The courage that took … talk about a real leader, a real hero, in saving Damar’s life, and I just admire his strength.”


One week after his horrifying collapse, Hamlin was discharged from the University of Cincinnati Medical Center on Monday, January 9 to continue his recovery at a hospital in Buffalo, New York.

Some football fans on Twitter believe that Kellington should be given the NFL’s highest honor, an induction into the Hall of Fame for his heroics. The idea makes a lot of sense. It’s one thing to achieve greatness on the field or in the front office, but saving someone’s life puts Kellington on a whole new level of achievement.

Currently, there are 362 members of the NFL Hall of Fame which includes former players, coaches and front-office people, but a medical staffer has never been inducted. If the NFL acted fast, there’s still time for Kellington to be inducted in 2023.

Players usually have to wait a minimum of five years after retirement to be inducted into the Hall of Fame but there is no waiting period for those who have contributed to the league off the field.

The NFL should announce the latest list of people who will be enshrined in the coming days, leading up to an induction ceremony at Super Bowl 57. To honor Kellington shortly after his amazing act would be a wonderful display of respect by the NFL at a time when player health is top of mind for players and fans.

Kellington took immediate action to help save a player’s life. The least the NFL can do to repay him is to give him the honor he’s due without hesitation.

All GIFs and images via Exposure Labs.


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