DALLAS (FWAA) – Arkansas' Patience Beard is the weekly
nominee for the 2012 Discover Orange Bowl-FWAA Courage Award, to
be announced at the end of the season. Beard, a freshman from Douglasville,
Texas, made the Razorbacks' cheerleading squad despite a prosthetic
Beard is already becoming known as "the girl with the zebra
leg," a reference to the special design of the prosthetic she
wears. She was born with a proximal femoral focal deficiency, which
affects bone growth. At age 9 months, her left leg was amputated,
but it barely slowed her down. She participated in gymnastics as
a child, took up cheerleading in middle school and was homecoming
queen last year at Texas High School. But even she was surprised
to make the 12-member freshman squad at an FBS-level school.
"I've always dreamed of this," Beard said, "but
never thought I'd be here doing what I've always wanted to do. I
can't even put into words how exciting and amazing this year has
Arkansas cheerleading/spirit coordinator Jean Nail said Beard
is able to perform all of the required stunts and routines.
"She's the kind of person we want, "Arkansas cheerleading/spirit
coordinator Jean Nail told Yahoo! Sports. "She's a good role
model. And she's absolutely qualified." And Nail adds: "Sometimes
when you see Patience, it just gives you that little extra edge
you need to try one more time."
Beard credits her parents with "giving me my drive"
and never allowing her to have excuses.
"I'd just hope everyone ... would know they can do whatever
they put their mind to," she said.
For the seventh straight year, the Football Writers Association
of America and the Discover Orange Bowl will announce a weekly nominee
each Wednesday during the season. A blue-ribbon panel will determine
the winner from all of the nominees. The winner of the Discover
Orange Bowl-FWAA Courage Award will be announced in December and
be presented with the trophy during the week of the 2013 Discover
BCS National Championship Game.
Courage Award was created by ESPN The Magazine's senior writer Gene
Wojciechowski, also an FWAA member. A select group of writers from
the FWAA vote on the winner each year. The requirements for nomination
include displaying courage on or off the field, including overcoming
an injury or physical handicap, preventing a disaster or living
Previous winners of the FWAA's Courage Award are Michigan State
offensive lineman Arthur Ray Jr. (2011), Rutgers defensive tackle
Eric LeGrand (2010), the University of Connecticut football team
(2009), Tulsa's Wilson Holloway (2008), Navy's Zerbin Singleton
(2007), Clemson's Ray Ray McElrathbey (2006), the Tulane football
team (2005), Memphis' Haracio Colen (2004), San Jose State's Neil
Parry (2003) and Toledo's William Bratton (2002).
About the Orange Bowl
The Orange Bowl is
a 348-member, primarily-volunteer non-profit sports organization
that promotes and serves the South Florida community. The Orange
Bowl Festival features a year-round schedule of events culminating
with the Discover Orange Bowl on January 1, 2013 and the Discover
BCS National Championship on January 7, 2013. Other Orange Bowl
core events include the MetroPCS Orange Bowl Basketball Classic,
Orange Bowl Youth Football Alliance presented by Sports Authority,
Orange Bowl International Tennis Championships, Orange Bowl Sailing
Regatta Series and Orange Bowl Paddle Championships. For more information
on the 2012-13 Orange Bowl Festival and its events, including promotional
and volunteer opportunities through the Ambassador Program, log
on to www.orangebowl.org.
The Football Writers Association of America, a non-profit organization
founded in 1941, consists of more than 1,200 men and women who cover college football
for a living. The membership includes journalists, broadcasters and publicists,
as well as key executives in all the areas that involve the game. The FWAA works
to govern areas that include gameday operations, major awards and its annual All-America
team. For more information about the FWAA and its award programs, contact Steve
Richardson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 972-713-6198.
2012 Orange Bowl Courage Award Nominees
• Sept. 26: Daniel Rodriguez, Clemson
• Oct. 3: Angelo Richardson, Arizona State
• Oct. 10: Patience Beard, Arkansas
• Oct. 17: Neiron Ball, Florida
• Oct. 31: Dan Werner, Mississippi
• Nov. 8: Jay Prosch, Auburn
• Nov. 15: Austin Woods, Oklahoma