NEW ORLEANS (FWAA) – San Jose State's Neil Parry
claimed the 2003 FWAA/ESPN The Magazine Courage Award
on Sunday during the association's annual awards breakfast in conjunction
with the Nokia Sugar Bowl at the New Orleans Hyatt hotel.
Parry suffered a broken right leg as a sophomore against Texas-El
Paso in 2000. He lost the lower part of his right leg after an infection.
But he underwent 25 surgeries during the following two seasons and
was fitted with an artificial limb.
Parry returned to play this season mainly on San Jose State's
long punt return team. He completed his inspirational comeback when
played his first game since the amputation on Sept. 18 against Nevada.
Sixteen athletes, a student manager and an assistant coach, each
with a special story of accomplishment in the face of difficult
circumstances, were nominees for the 2003 FWAA/ESPN The Magazine
The award honors someone in college football who shows great
courage in the face of adversity. Requirements for candidacy include
displaying a courageous action on or off the field, overcoming any
injury or physical handicap, preventing a disaster or living through
a lifetime of hardship.
Toledo running back William Bratton, who endured a blood disorder
and great pain but still played football, won the inaugural award
during the 2002 season.
Nominations for the award were solicited by the FWAA. A panel
of nearly three dozen FWAA members voted on the nominees and selected
Parry as the recipient.
Inspired by the story of Jekelsy Johnson, a linebacker from Alcorn
State who was murdered while coming to the aid of a woman being
harassed by four non-students on campus, the award was created by
ESPN The Magazine's Gene Wojciechowski.
• FedEx Orange Bowl Courage