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Damar Hamlin wins 2023 George Halas Award after on-field cardiac arrest last season

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 smiling

Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin is seen before a news conference on Capitol Hill about the Access to AEDs Act, which aims improve access to defibrillators in schools, on Wednesday, March 29, 2023. (Tom Williams / Getty Images)

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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.

Damar Hamlin speaks to crowd

FILE – Buffalo Bills’ Damar Hamlin speaks in front of University of Cincinnati Medical Center staff during the NFL Honors award show ahead of the Super Bowl 57 football game, Thursday, Feb. 9, 2023, in Phoenix. Hamlin, who made a full recovery after being revived following a cardiac arrest on the field during a game at Cincinnati on Jan. 2, has been announced as the 2023 George Halas Award winner on Monday, May 15, 2023.  (David J. Phillip / AP Photo)

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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.

Damar Hamlin

FILE – Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins (85) collides with Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin (3) during the first half of an NFL football game, Monday, Jan. 2, 2023, in Cincinnati. Hamlin was injured on the play. (Joshua A. Bickel / AP Photo)

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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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