DALLAS (FWAA) – Florida's Brandon Antwine is
the final nominee for the 2008 FedEx Orange Bowl/FWAA Courage Award,
to be announced at the end of the season. Antwine, a sophomore defensive
tackle from Garland, Texas, has overcome kidney failure and a significant
muscular breakdown in his lower back to return to football
In October 2007, Antwine suffered symptoms of dehydration along
with pain in his lower back. He was taken to the hospital, and acute
kidney failure was discovered. Further examination revealed the
kidney troubles resulted from a rare muscle failure called lumbar
spine myonecrosis, a loss of blood pressure that kills muscular
Essentially a muscle in his lower back had died. Normal kidney
function returned in several days, but the pain in his back got
"It was like no other pain I've ever experienced in my life,"
Antwine told the Gainesville (Fla.) Sun. "It felt like someone had
lit my back on fire and then was stabbing me with a knife."
Antwine spent several weeks in a wheelchair, then had to relearn
how to walk. The process included therapy in a swimming pool, followed
by learning to balance and then walking with a cane.
Many suspected he would not play football again, but he gradually
progressed. Although he wasn't cleared for full contact until the
second week of September, Antwine has contributed this season as
a backup nose tackle, and has pushed for more playing time.
He stretches the back four times a day.
"I don't want to say it's a miracle because that's awful deep,
but he's come this far," Florida coach Urban Meyer told the Orlando
Sentinel. "Our medical staff is amazed."
the third straight year, the Football Writers Association of America
and the FedEx Orange Bowl has announced a weekly nominee 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 trophy.
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