‘I Was Ready': Buffalo Bills’ Trainer Addresses ‘Hero’ Reputation in Speech
Denny Kellington returned to his alma mater, Oklahoma State University, this past weekend to deliver a commencement address for the graduating Class of 2023. It's likely that Kellington had previously returned to campus at some point between 2000, when he received his undergraduate degree, and 2023.
This return, however, was different, as Kellington returned with the reputation of a hero, after he and the training staff for the Buffalo Bills were lauded for their efforts in saving Damar Hamlin's life.
Kellington addressed that fateful day, and much more, as part of his speech this past weekend.
Hear Buffalo Bills' Trainer Kellington's Commencement Address at OK State
A story from New York Upstate and other outlets shared the remarks made by Denny Kellington, long-time Buffalo Bills and Syracuse Orange athletic trainer, during his commencement address given this past weekend at Oklahoma State University.
Kellington graduated from OK State in 2000, earning his undergraduate degree while he was part of the Cowboys' community. 23 years later, here he was, standing at a lectern in front of thousands of new graduates, telling his own story.
Check out his speech, captured in the video below:
For those that do not know, Kellington was a key part of the on-field efforts to save the life of Buffalo Bills' player Damar Hamlin, who collapsed on-the-field in Cincinnati back in January during a Bills-Bengals game.
As we would come to find out, Hamlin had gone into cardiac arrest after making a tackle, a rare medical event that can occur after a blunt force impacts the area of the chest where the heart sits.
Kellington was credited by Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer as being "absolutely vital" in the efforts to revive Hamlin, which he and the training staff were able to do successfully, before he was transported to the hospital.
Kellington addressed his reputation as a "hero" during his speech, saying the following:
“It’s a bit odd to be the person reporters are talking about when they say Denny Kellington is a hero. It’s very humbling. All the attention I’ve received for simply doing my job has been overwhelming. I’ve said repeatedly that I’m not a hero. But I’ll tell you what I was that day: I was ready.” - Denny Kellington via New York Upstate
He continued on during his speech, saying this to the graduating class:
“My hope for your future is that most of your days pass without fanfare, that you wake every day knowing that you are following your calling. I pray your days are filled with joy and fulfillment and that when the days come when you face a challenge, you know that your time at OSU has helped prepare you to face any crisis.” - Denny Kellington via New York Upstate
Denny Kellington will always be considered a hero for what he, and the training staff, were able to do on-the-field in Cincinnati back in January. That said, his ability to remain humble, and acknowledge that he was simply "ready" when he and his fellow trainers were called into action that day, is something that every person should try to emulate in their lives.
Oh, yes, and congratulations to the Class of 2023, both at OK State, and everywhere else!