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Pitt athlete saves father’s life after receiving CPR training from campaign started by Damar Hamlin

PITTSBURGH — A Pitt soccer star was honored during the Panthers’ basketball game after she used skills she learned from a campaign started by Damar Hamlin to save her father’s life.

“You never really know when it will happen until it happens to you,” Ellie Breech said.

Ellie is known for making saves for the Pitt women’s soccer team but on Christmas Day she made her biggest save ever, her dad’s life.

“It’s amazing. I was totally cyanotic blue. Pulseless,” her father Ed Breech said.

Damar Hamlin and the American Heart Association gave her the prestigious “Heart Hero Award” for her efforts. Ellie was one of several Pitt athletes to be trained in CPR, thanks in part to the efforts of Hamlin whose life was saved on the football field.

“I’m extremely grateful for the CPR training that Damar has helped instill within Pitt Athletics and it was the most recent training I had,” Ellie said.

Ellie and her dad were able to share the moment she was recognized.

“Her fast acting and game-on attitude mentality saved my life, literally,” Ed said.

While the preparation for the training made all the difference for Ellie, she thanked one of her coaches for helping too.

“Thanks to my strength coach for giving me conditioning for all 9 minutes of CPR,” she said. “I appreciate it. It came in handy, not the way you thought, but it works.”

450 Pitt student-athletes have had the same CPR training. The team of UPMC and Pitt medical professionals who run it were also honored.

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