Damar Hamlin cries as he honors ESPY first responders

Damar Hamlin isn’t shy about expressing his feelings.

More than six months after suffering cardiac arrest on the field during a Monday Night Football game against the Cincinnati Bengals, the professional athlete is preparing for a miraculous return to the NFL. But before that, he wore his emotions on his sleeve when he presented the Buffalo Bills coaching staff who saved his life with a worthy award on Wednesday night.

Damar Hamlin’s tearful tribute to the Buffalo Bills medical team warmed the hearts of many

For anyone who followed Hamlin’s incredible journey from his technical death on the track to his speedy recovery, it’s clear that he wouldn’t have survived without the fast-acting Bills paramedics and trainers.

So it came as no surprise when the lifesaving group was chosen to receive the Pat Tillman Award for Service at the 2023 ESPYS ceremony on Wednesday, July 12, from the 25-year-old.

Grayling PEOPLE, before the Buffalo Bills safety presented the award to the first responders, they could hear his story in a clip. In his belt words:

“I didn’t wake up that day in January thinking I would need someone to save my life and I doubt the staff thought they would have to do what they did. What I took away from what happened to me six and a half months ago is that any of us can do something incredible at any time: save a life and live in the service of others.”

Damar Hamlin at the 2023 ESPY Awards

He explained that it was a “blessing” and a “responsibility” to live a life of service, “that was the reason” people could hear his voice at that moment. “Anyone can be a hero. These are mine,” she finished in the clip, before the camera showed her breaking down in tears on stage.

The public display of emotion roused the audience, who immediately rose to their feet and applauded him until he regained his composure. Hamlin finally introduced the training staff and continued to cry as he presented them with the award.

Bills head athletic trainer Nate Breske accepted the trophy, an annual recognition given to an individual(s) who serve to honor the late Tillman.

“I am humbled and honored to speak tonight on behalf of the Buffalo Bills athletic training staff. . . . By God’s grace and divine intervention, we have had the best outcome we could have prayed for.”

They shared a clip showing the emotional moments between Hamlin and the crew it beeps from Barstool Sports, which has since received thousands of likes and retweets, and has been quoted by some.

Prior to the event, the NFL honored the coaching staff and athlete in February, with Sheryl Lee Ralph and Bills legend Jim Kelly introducing them on stage.

When he took the microphone for his acceptance speech, the Central Catholic alum thanked “God for still being here” and acknowledged that he still has a long way to go on the road to recovery.

However, he was too grateful for the medical team who revived him with defibrillation and CPR when he collapsed, and to the NFL for honoring them with the 2023 NFLPA Alan Page Community Award.

According to the head coach of György Halas, he recovered “one day at a time”.

In May, The Blast observed that Hamlin’s recovery was well advanced when he was seen doing individual drills and stretching at the Bills Organized Activity (OTA) event while his teammates were on the field doing their workouts.

Bills head coach Sean McDermott, knowing the sight would generate an anticipatory reaction online, had to clarify in a news conference the same day.

“We will continue to take it one day at a time and support Damar in any way we can,” he began. The briefing, in which McDermott also stated that Hamlin was “working in the building” and not practicing with the rest of the team, was shared on Twitter with the following text:

“We’re live with Coach McDermott as he meets the media before One Bills Drive practice. #GoBills | #BillsDrive.”

The live update was liked by hundreds of Bills supporters and received numerous comments, with the netizen tweeting, “Needed. The Dolphins’ best chance to win the division is if McDermott makes the decision.”

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