DALLAS (FWAA) – Oklahoma State's Artrell Woods
is the first nominee of 2008 for the FedEx Orange Bowl/FWAA Courage
Award, to be announced at the end of the season. Woods, a sophomore
receiver from Bryan, Texas, is playing again after overcoming a spinal cord injury
suffered 14 months ago.
When Woods suffered a dislocated and fractured vertebrae and
a spinal cord injury during a weightlifting session July 13, 2007,
doctors initially wondered whether he would walk again. A return
to football wasn't part of the discussion.
Woods rolled an ankle while doing a standard step-up lift of
about 185 pounds, causing the freakish injury. He lurched forward,
hit his knees on the step, then fell backward. He suffered initial
paralysis in one leg and was air-evacuated to an Oklahoma City hospital.
Woods underwent major surgery soon thereafter, and spent several
weeks in a full-torso cast.
"The first few days after the accident, my goal was for him to
walk again, to just have a normal life," Oklahoma State head athletic
trainer Rob Hunt told The Oklahoman. "Football wasn't even an issue.
Artie and I never talked about him playing football again."
Said Woods: "I actually felt like I was gonna be able to come
back to football all along. Once I could feel my legs again, I felt
like I'd come back."
The fracture was fused together during the surgery and has fully
healed. Woods played in Oklahoma State's first two games. He suffered
a minor knee injury last Saturday against Houston but is expected
to return to action soon.
the third straight year, the Football Writers Association of America
and the FedEx 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 FedEx Orange Bowl/FWAA
Courage Award will be announced in December and be presented with
The Courage Award was created by ESPN The Magazine's senior writer
Gene Wojciechowski, also a 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 through hardship.
Previous winners of the FWAA's Courage Award are 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).
Celebrating its 75th anniversary, the Orange Bowl Committee
is a not-for-profit, 333-member, primarily-volunteer organization.
It is a self-sustaining, independent organization that supports
and produces activities and events that enhance the image, economy
and culture of South Florida. In addition to the 75th edition of
the Orange Bowl Festival, which features a year-round schedule of
events culminating with the FedEx Orange Bowl on January 1, the
Orange Bowl Committee will host the 2009 FedEx BCS Championship
Game on January 8. For more information on the 2008-09 Orange Bowl
Festival and its events, including promotional and volunteer opportunities,
The Football Writers Association of America, a non-profit
organization founded in 1941, consists of more than 1,000 men and
women across North America 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 game day operations,
major awards, a national poll and its annual All-America team.
For more information in the FedEx Orange Bowl/FWAA Courage Award,
contact George Schroeder at 541-953-4080 or
2008 Orange Bowl Courage Award Nominees
• Sept. 10: Artrell Woods, Oklahoma State
• Sept. 17: Terence Campbell, East Carolina
• Sept. 24: Johnell Neal, Central Florida
• Oct. 1: Wilson Holloway, Tulsa
• Oct. 8: Inquoris "Inky" Johnson, Tennessee
• Oct. 15: Richard Bowman, North Dakota State
• Oct. 22: Tyson Gentry, Ohio State
• Oct. 29: Chris Ogbonnaya, Texas
• Nov. 12: Robert Quinn, North Carolina
• Nov. 19: Brandon Antwine, Florida