Football Writers Association of America Nov. 25, 2015
For Immediate Release
Contact: Daniel Pyser
Lineman returns after near-fatal heat stroke
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DALLAS (FWAA) – Miami's Hunter Knighton is this week's nominee for the 2015 Capital One Orange Bowl-FWAA Courage Award.


Knighton, a redshirt sophomore offensive lineman, returned to action for the Hurricanes this season after missing all of last season because of a nearly fatal heat stroke.

"The worst memory of the hospital was when I first woke up I couldn't breathe," Knighton told the Associated Press in August. "I had the tube in there; it was like I was suffocating. Every breath I thought was going to be my last. I was trapped in my body. Couldn't talk. Couldn't breathe. Everything was fuzzy. It felt like I was dying."

During conditioning drills on Feb. 24, 2014, Knighton collapsed. Unbeknownst to the lineman, he had been fighting through the flu. His temperature rose to 109 degrees. He was in a coma for 12 days, and he lost 55 pounds in his sleep.

Knighton overcame significant physical and mental hurdles over the ensuing 18 months to return to both the classroom and to the field, making his debut in Miami's season opener this year against Bethune-Cookman.

The Courage Award was first presented by the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) in 2002. 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. The winner of the award will be included in festivities during Capital One Orange Bowl week and receive his trophy at an on-field presentation.

Previous winners of the award are Duke offensive lineman Laken Tomlinson (2014), San Josι State defensive lineman Anthony Larceval (2013), Clemson wide receiver Daniel Rodriguez (2012), 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 Josι State's Neil Parry (2003) and Toledo's William Bratton (2002).

About the Orange Bowl
The Orange Bowl is a 363-member, primarily-volunteer non-profit sports organization that promotes and serves the South Florida community. The Orange Bowl features a year-round schedule of events culminating with the College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Capital One Orange Bowl on December 31, 2015. 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 International Youth Regatta, Orange Bowl Swim Classic and Orange Bowl Paddle Championships. For more information on the 2015-16 Orange Bowl events, including promotional and volunteer opportunities through the Ambassador Program presented by Panera Bread, log on to Follow Orange Bowl: @OrangeBowl, Facebook and Instagram.

Celebrating its 75th anniversary in 2015, the Football Writers Association of America consists of 1,400 men and women who cover college football. 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 and its annual All-America team. For more information about the FWAA and its award programs, or to submit a nomination for this year’s Orange Bowl-FWAA Courage Award, contact Steve Richardson at

2015 Orange Bowl Courage Award Nominees
• Sept. 16: Bobby Swigert, Boston College
• Sept. 23: Jake Olson, USC
• Sept. 30: Anthony Zettel, Penn State
• Oct. 7: Leonard Fournette, LSU
• Oct. 14: Cheatham Norrils, Toledo
• Oct. 21: J.B. Grimes, Auburn
• Oct. 28: D.J. Foster, Arizona State
• Nov. 4: Demetrious Nicholson, Virginia
• Nov. 11: Jerry Kill, Minnesota
• Nov. 18: Mitchell Meyers, Iowa State
• Nov. 25: Hunter Knighton, Miami
• Dec. 2: Justin Hansen, Colorado State

Related link:
• Capital One Orange Bowl Courage Award