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Midwest City native praised for life-saving action during NFL game

Midwest City native Denny Kellington revived Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin after collapse during a Monday Night Football game. Photo provided

Denny Kellington revived Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin

By Jeff Harrison
Midwest City Beacon

A Midwest City native is being praised for helping save the life of an NFL player.

Denny Kellington, a 1996 Midwest City High School graduate, is an assistant athletic trainer with the Buffalo Bills. On Monday night, Kellington administered timely CPR to Bills safety Damar Hamlin after the 24-year-old suffered cardiac arrest during a game against the Cincinnati Bengals.

Hamlin suddenly collapsed in the first quarter after tackling Bengals receiver Tee Higgins. Kellington and others acted quickly to deliver life-saving treatment on the field.  Doctors said that when Hamlin collapsed on the field, he had a pulse and then lost it, which is why the Bills staff administered CPR and defibrillation.

Hamlin was rushed to the University of Cincinnati hospital where he remains in the intensive care unit.

A pair of UC physicians spoke via a Zoom call for nearly an hour today about Hamlin’s condition and lifesaving efforts of the Bills’ medical team.Physicians William Knight IV, MD and Timothy Pritts, MD, spoke highly of Kellington and the Bills’ medical team.

“There are injuries occasionally that happen on sports fields, but it is incredibly rare to have something be this serious that happens like that and to be immediately recognized,” Knight said.

Prittsechoed those statements.

“The Bills training staff who was with him immediately recognized that this was not a run of the mill injury and that they had a significant event on their hands and immediately responded and got the emergency response team involved in his care,” Pritts said. “And really, this went as well as something like this could go under very challenging circumstances, and they did a fantastic job which is why we’re here today.”

Jason Cox, Midwest City High School athletic trainer, said the actions of Kellington and others were “spot on.”

“They had an emergency action plan in place and enacted it right away,” Cox said. “They did CPR rescue and compressions until the ambulance arrived. That’s the reason why emergency action plans are so important.”

Bills offensive lineman Dion Dawkins commended Kellington and others for their actions.

“Denny Kellington let’s praise this name and person for reviving Our Brother Damar on the field,” Offensive tackle Dion Dawkins wrote on Twitter Thursday.

Tight end Tanner Gentry tweeted of Kellington, “All he cares about is the well being of the players. True hero.” And retired former Bills offensive tackle Daryl Williams wrote, “My guy! The best trainer in the league.”

Doctors do not yet know the cause of Hamlin’s cardiac arrest but, said he has made “substantial improvement in his condition over the past 24 hours.”

Kellington is a Midwest City native and earned his bachelor’s degree at Oklahoma State University in 2000. He later earned a master’s degree at Ohio State University, while also serving as a graduate athletic trainer. Kellington then went on to work at Syracuse University as an assistant and later head athletic trainer, before joining the Bills’ staff in 2017.

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