Damar Hamlin wins adversity award after suffering cardiac arrest on NFL field four months ago as he becomes 55th recipient of George Halas Award
- Damar Hamlin suffered cardiac arrest and ‘died on national television’ in January
- He has since been cleared to return to the training ground and football activities
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Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin has been selected as the winner of the 2023 George Halas Award.
The Professional Football Writers of America announced Monday the 55th recipient of the award, which is given to an NFL player, coach or staff member who overcomes adversity to achieve success.
Hamlin went into cardiac arrest in a nationally televised game Jan. 2 after making a tackle on a Cincinnati Bengals receiver.
The defensive back tackled Bengals wideout Tee Higgins during that game before getting to his feet, wobbling and collapsing on the turf at Paycor Stadium, where he needed to be resuscitated. He was administered oxygen, placed on a stretcher and rushed to a local hospital in critical condition. In his own words, he “died on national television.”
He was released on January 11 and said last month his doctors concluded a blow to the chest had caused his heart to stop.
Damar Hamlin of the Buffalo Bills won the 2023 George Halas Award after overcoming adversity
Hamlin suffered a blow to the chest while tackling Bengals WR Tee Higgins, leading to cardiac arrest
Players united after Hamlin’s collapse in Cincinnati, forming a wall while praying
The rare condition – called commotio cordis – occurs when a severe blow to the chest causes the heart to quiver and stop pumping blood efficiently, leading to sudden cardiac arrest.
“It’s a direct hit at a specific time in your heartbeat that causes cardiac arrest,” Hamlin recently told reporters after training with his teammates at the Bills facility in Orchard Park, New York.
“Five to seven seconds later you go down and that’s pretty much what everyone was seeing on January 2 of this year.”
There was speculation that Hamlin had suffered from commotio cordis, but that diagnosis wasn’t confirmed until his press conference, where the Pittsburgh native said he hoped to raise awareness about the condition.
“Commotio cordis is the leading cause of death among young athletes in all sports,” Hamlin said. “So that’s something that I’m personally going to step into to make a change.”
While commotio cordis is the “leading cause of sudden cardiac death in young athletes”, the National Institute of Health reports, it is relatively rare. According to the NIH, fewer than 30 cases are reported each year.
“Children appear to be most at risk of commotio cordis,” reads a description from the National Library of Medicine. “The average age reported in the registry is 15, and very few cases have been reported over the age of 20. This may be the result of a combination of a thinner chest wall compared to an adult and an increased likelihood of participating in activities where they are susceptible to chest injury.
“Ninety-five percent of reported cases occur in males, again likely reflecting selection for sports participation that provides the necessary risk factors for commotio cordis to occur,” continues the passage. “However, anatomical differences in chest wall thickness may also play a role.”
Hamlin said he would use the money donated to his foundation to help prevent similar incidents
He was allowed to return to the Bills facilities and prepare for the upcoming season
Hamlin was cleared to return to play and participated in the Bills voluntary practice program last month.
He also pledged to help young athletes avoid similar situations by donating the $10 million in donations he received after the incident to promote safe sports through CPR and AED training. .
“We were very deliberate and intentional in taking our time to properly set up my charity,” Hamlin said in a statement.
“I’m excited to start sharing news about the programs we’re creating to impact a generation of young people and give back to others.”