Damar Hamlin honored with PFWA Halas Award for overcoming adversity

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Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin, who is working on his return to the field after having gone into cardiac arrest during a game in January, has been selected as the winner of the 2023 George Halas Award.

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 on Jan. 2 after making a tackle on a Cincinnati Bengals receiver. He got up but collapsed and had to be resuscitated on the field. The 24-year-old player was taken to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center in critical condition and spent a week there before being flown to Buffalo for further treatment. He was released Jan. 11.

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He said last month that his doctors have concluded that a hit to the chest caused his heart to stop. 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.

Hamlin has been cleared to resume playing and took part in the Bills’ voluntary workout program last month.

The other Halas finalists were Giants running back Saquon Barkley, 49ers running back Christian McCaffrey, Commanders running back Brian Robinson Jr. and Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith.

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The Associated Press