DALLAS (FWAA) – North Dakota State's Richard Bowman
is this week's nominee for the 2008 FedEx Orange Bowl/FWAA Courage
Award, to be announced at the end of the season. Bowman, a junior
cornerback from Houston, has overcome a severe neck injury that
necessitated surgery and threatened his playing career.
The 5-8, 172-pounder was injured in the first game of the 2007 season
while making a hit. Bowman felt his body go numb, and it wasn't
the first time. He'd had the same feeling once after a hit during
"I wasn't afraid, because in high school I was only out for one
week," Bowman told ncaa.com.
Bowman lay on the field for several minutes before feeling returned
to his extremities. He walked to the sideline but later underwent
further tests which revealed spinal stenosis, a narrowing of the
spinal canal which meant spinal fluid was unable to flow easily
through the canal.
"Whenever I suffer any type of impact," Bowman said, "my spinal
cord hits the canal and that's what caused me to be immobilized."
Doctors told Bowman he could have been paralyzed on the hit.
He underwent surgery to widen the spinal canal. Doctors used bones
from cadavers and titanium plates, allowing spinal fluid to flow
Bowman returned to action last August. He has played in all six
games and has 20 tackles, as well as two pass-breakups. North Dakota
State is 3-3 and ranked No. 16 in the Football Championship Subdivision
coaches' Top 25 poll.
"In the first game, it seemed like everything was moving so fast,"
Bowman said. "I felt like I was a rookie again. After that, everything
slowed down and I got used to it again."
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