ST. LOUIS (USBWA) – LSU-Shreveport basketball player
Josh Porter, considered a walking miracle after returning
to play for the Pilots this season following a life-threatening
neck injury he sustained in a game the previous season, has been
selected winner of the U.S. Basketball Writers Association's
Most Courageous Award.
Porter, a Shreveport, La., native, fractured the vertebrae in
his neck in a collision with a teammate during a game in November
2006. Porter fell so hard that the plastic facemask he wore to protect
a broken nose shot across the floor upon impact.
Porter lay motionless on the court for several minutes before
being stabilized and then transported to an area hospital for treatment.
There, doctors performed a two-hour surgical a procedure to fuse
his vertebrae back together.
Only later did Porter learn how terribly close he came to becoming
a quadriplegic and possibly dying.
His doctor, neurosurgeon Dr. Anil Nanda, said less than one percent
of those who sustain injuries similar to Josh's ever regain movement
or even live.
"I've seen several spinal cord injuries at LSU," said Dr. Nanda,
"and this is probably only the third time I've seen something like
Following 10 months of rehabilitation and recovery, Porter was
back playing basketball again at LSU-Shreveport this past fall.
He returned to his old form from two years ago when he was an NAIA
All-American and led the Pilots in scoring this season, averaging
over 22 points a game and ranking among the top five scorers nationally
in the NAIA.
"I think he is the most courageous young man in college basketball
right now," said his coach, Chad McDowell. "To come back when everyone
says you were supposed to be paralyzed, it takes what you're talking
about – courage."
Porter will receive the Most Courageous Award at the USBWA College
Basketball Awards breakfast held in conjunction with the NCAA Final
Four in San Antonio beginning at 8 a.m. on Fri., April 4, at Sunset
Depot. He'll also be honored at the USBWA's annual business meeting
and breakfast at 9 a.m. on Mon., April 7, at the Marriott Riverwalk.
The U.S. Basketball Writers Association was formed in 1956 at
the urging of then-NCAA Executive Director Walter Byers. Today,
it is one of the most influential organizations in college basketball.
For more information on the USBWA and its awards, contact executive
director Joe Mitch at 314-421-0339.
• USBWA Most Courageous