Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin was voted the 2023 George Halas Award winner.
The Professional Football Writers of America on Monday announced the 55th winner of the award, which is given to an NFL player, coach or staff member who overcomes adversity to succeed.
Hamlin went into cardiac arrest during a nationally televised game Jan. 2 after assaulting a Cincinnati Bengals receiver.
The defensive back attacked Bengals winger Tee Higgins during that game before recovering to his feet, wobbling and collapsing on the turf of Paycor Stadium, where he required CPR. He was given oxygen, placed on a stretcher and taken 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 that his doctors concluded a blow to the chest caused cardiac arrest.
The Buffalo Bills’ Damar Hamlin has won the 2023 George Halas Award after overcoming adversity
Hamlin suffered a blow to the chest while attacking Bengal’s WR Tee Higgins, causing cardiac arrest
After Hamlin collapsed in Cincinnati, the players stood together and formed a wall while praying in unison
The rare condition – commotio cordis – occurs when a violent blow to the chest causes the heart to tremble and stop pumping blood efficiently, leading to sudden cardiac arrest.
“It’s a direct hit to a specific point in your heartbeat that causes cardiac arrest,” Hamlin recently told reporters after training with teammates at the Bills facility in Orchard Park, New York.
“Five to seven seconds later you fall out and that’s pretty much what everyone saw on January 2nd of this year.”
There was some speculation that Hamlin suffered from commotio cordis, but that diagnosis was only confirmed at his press conference, where the Pittsburgh native said he hoped to raise awareness of the condition.
“Commotio cordis is the leading cause of death in junior athletes in all sports,” Hamlin said. “So that’s something I’m personally going to do to make a difference.”
While commotio cordis is the “most common cause of sudden cardiac death in young athletes,” the National Institute of Health It is reported to be relatively rare. Fewer than 30 cases are reported each year, according to the NIH.
“Children appear to be at the highest risk for commotio cordis,” says a description in the National Library of Medicine. “The average age reported in the registry is 15 years and very few cases older than 20 years have been reported. This may be due to a combination of a thinner chest wall compared to an adult and an increased likelihood of participating in activities that have a chance of being hit in the chest.
“Ninety-five percent of reported cases occur in boys, which again is likely due to selection to participate in sport, which provides the risk factors necessary for the occurrence of commotio cordis,” the passage continues. “Anatomical differences in chest wall thickness may also play a role.”
Hamlin has stated that he will use the money donated to his foundation to help prevent similar incidents
He has been granted permission to return to the Bills’ facilities and prepare for the upcoming season
Hamlin was allowed to play again and took part in the Bills’ voluntary training program last month.
He has also pledged to help youth sports avoid similar situations by donating the $10 million in donations he received after the incident to promoting safety in sports through CPR and AED training has donated.
“We have very consciously and intentionally taken the time to properly build my charity,” Hamlin said in a statement.
“I look forward to sharing news about programs we are developing to reach a generation of young people and give back to others.”