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Damar Hamlin, American Heart Association join Panthers for CPR training event

David Tepper, Damar Hamlin, Nicole Tepper

CHARLOTTE – The Panthers are at the forefront of NFL teams providing lifesaving training to members of their community, and it's a cause close to their hearts.

Tepper Sports and Entertainment, in partnership with the American Heart Association, hosted CPR and automated external defibrillator (AED) training and education courses at the Atrium Health Dome on Monday. The training during the event shared lifesaving skills with members of TSE staff and some Panthers players, with Atrium Health providing the opportunity for PSL owners as well.

Nicole Tepper joined Buffalo safety Damar Hamlin, whose life was saved by CPR earlier this year after he collapsed on the field following a hit during a game against Cincinnati, and American Heart Association CEO Nancy Brown to give remarks during the event.

David Tepper, Charlotte mayor Vi Lyles, city manager Marcus Jones, and team president Kristi Coleman were also in attendance, as well as Panthers players Johnny Hekker, Tommy Tremble, Ian Thomas, Jeremy Chinn, Marquis Haynes Sr., and Chuba Hubbard, who participated in the training as well.

"The feedback is amazing," Nicole Tepper said. "It's interesting to hear people say, 'I would not have done this on my own,' or 'Where would I even start?' For them to be here getting certified, and also getting educated, and being able to pass that information along to their loved ones or people in their community is super important."

Tepper added she was inspired to coordinate the event following Hamlin's on-field cardiac arrest and news of Bills co-owner Kim Pegula's cardiac arrest over the summer. Hamlin and Pegula received lifesaving CPR, and Tepper wished to provide resources for all TSE employees to become CPR certified.

Just before the Super Bowl this year, Tepper met with director of community relations Riley Fields to begin the brainstorming. Upon arriving in Arizona for Super Bowl events, Tepper met Hamlin, and he was excited to join forces for the event.

"Once I saw Nicole at the Super Bowl, telling me about the event, (the) first thing I said was, 'I'll be there,'" Hamlin said during his on-stage comments. "As you can see, anywhere I can (go), everywhere around the world, I just want to keep raising awareness and trying to get as many people that we can CPR certified. Because you never know when you can be that hero."

Damar Hamlin, Nicole Tepper, Vi Lyles

Tepper also connected with Brown from the American Heart Association during Super Bowl weekend. In her comments during the event, Brown expressed gratitude to the Panthers for "leading the way among NFL teams" in spreading the word and being prepared in case of a cardiac emergency.

Reflecting the urgency of this priority, the David and Nicole Tepper Foundation made a gift to the American Heart Association to support the ongoing mission.

"It's incredible," Brown said. "The way people become aware is when amazing individuals like the Teppers (and) Damar Hamlin make it their life's mission to help make sure everyone has access to training, and that everyone is aware."

Hekker, who participated in the training, said he was "CPR aware" before the event, but that he learned more in-depth information from the session, on-site trainers, and video guidance.

"To be a part of this event – thanks to Nicole and Dave for putting this all together – this is just the initial stone throw that will have ripple effects," Hekker said. "Wherever we go, this isn't just something that stays here. We travel on a vacation, someone drops in a restaurant, we can be there to support in that way as well. This is just a ripple effect that will help keep people alive, and I'm just blessed to be a part of it."

Johnny Hekker

In her closing statement, Tepper thanked Hamlin, Brown, and everyone who helped coordinate Monday's event, vowing to help push education further into the community.

"He's making a difference in this world," Tepper said of Hamlin. "So it's a pleasure and an honor for him to be here today, with Nancy and everybody else. Thank you so much to everyone who helped me bring this vision to life. And we're going to continue to help this community in Charlotte and beyond…We're going to continue to do this."

Monday's CPR training and education programming continues Tepper Sports & Entertainment's use of Bank of America Stadium and the Atrium Health Dome as community assets. In addition to hosting this event at the Atrium Health Dome, Bank of America Stadium has served as an early voting site, hosting nearly 20,000 voters total during the 2020 and 2022 election cycles and as a COVID vaccination site in 2021, providing nearly 117,000 vaccinations.

View photos from Monday's CPR training in the Atrium Health Dome as Nicole Tepper invited Bills player Damar Hamlin and the American Heart Association to be on hand and support team, staff and community members learn CPR.

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