DALLAS (FWAA) – Ohio State's Tyson Gentry is this
week's nominee for the 2008 FedEx Orange Bowl/FWAA Courage Award,
to be announced at the end of the season. Gentry, a senior from
Sandusky, Ohio, suffered partial paralysis after he was injured
during a spring practice in April 2006, but has remained a valued
member of the team.
The walk-on punter was asked to help out as a receiver on the
scout team. During a scrimmage, he suffered a broken C-4 vertebrae
in his neck after catching a pass.
"I remember catching the ball and going a few steps to turn upfield,
and the ball started to slip," Gentry told the Columbus Dispatch.
"And I think I looked down to go to grab it, and just the way I
was dragged to the ground – it wasn't even a hit, just throwing
me down to the ground.
"I think the way my head went down, it kind of went to the side
and that's pretty much how it happened."
After several surgeries, Gentry has movement in his head and
shoulders, and partial movement in his arms.
He continues a rigorous therapy regimen – and has seen progress,
regaining some feeling in different areas. Using a motorized wheelchair,
Gentry continues as a member of the team, attending meetings, practices
"Tyson is one of us," Ohio State receiver Brian Robiskie told
the newspaper. "He always will be. His injury didn't change that."
Gentry, whose father also played at Ohio State, will be honored
along with other Buckeyes seniors at the final home game vs. Michigan.
He is on track to graduate with a degree in speech and hearing science
next spring. His goal is to earn a master's degree and become a
Gentry is able to lift weights, and he's recently begun shooting
pool with his teammates.
"I stay active and it keeps my mind going," Gentry told the newspaper.
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