OK, I’m definitely crying!
If you didn't know Damar Hamlin this past year, chances are you know who he is now. While playing football with the Buffalo Bills in the 2022-2023 NFL season against the Cincinnati Bengals, Hamlin's heart stopped after a hit, and he collapsed on the field on national television. The quick action from the Bills' training staff saved his life and allowed Hamlin to have a better chance at recovering fully.
For days, it seemed as if all of America was focused on Hamlin's recovery, collectively holding their breath to find out if he would ever open his eyes again after being placed in a medically induced coma. To everyone's relief, not only did he open his eyes, but he fully recovered and has since been cleared to play football again.
While he was in the hospital, the doctors caring for him continually acknowledged the large role the Bills' training staff had in saving the NFL safety. And at the ESPY Awards, Hamlin got the chance to present the training staff with the Pat Tillman Award for Service through tears.
Before Hamlin started to speak, he was already wiping away tears and the crowd quickly stood on its feet and cheered at the sight of him.
"Please welcome this year's recipient of the Pat Tillman Award for Service, the training staff of the Buffalo Bills," Hamlin said.
After his very quick introduction, the staff came out and embraced Hamlin in an extended huddle of hugs as he cried. The emotion was overflowing, not only for Hamlin and the recipients but for people in the audience.
"It was a massive army of specialists who came together on and off the field to do their jobs that night," Nate Breske, athletic trainer for the Bills said while accepting the award. "That team includes the Bills and Bengals athletic training and medical staffs, equipment managers, player engagement personnel, mental health clinicians, chaplains, security, on-field first responders, the paramedics and the entire medical staff at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center."
Breske went on to thank the owners of the Bills and Bengals for their guidance and Hamlin for staying alive. Watching how much love the staff and Hamlin have for each other after such a terrifying moment elicits tears of joy. You can see the emotional moment below.