Harvard's Ben Abercrombie named latest 2018 Capital One Orange Bowl-FWAA Courage Award Nominee
Harvard’s Ben Abercrombie is this week’s nominee for the 2018 Capital One Orange Bowl-FWAA Courage Award. Abercrombie, a sophomore, suffered a serious neck injury in his first career game last season. He broke his neck and he compressed his spinal cord. His C3 vertebra was dislocated and his C4 was fractured.
“I know in my position, people are going to feel sorry for me,” Abercrombie said during an ESPN College GameDay feature this month. “I hate it, but I can’t feel sorry for myself.”
Abercrombie, a defensive back, was the only freshman defensive player to make the Crimson’s travel roster last season, earning the nickname “Badgercrombie” from his coaches and teammates during camp for his ability to fly to the ball. He suffered the injury in the second quarter of his debut at Rhode Island on Sept. 16, 2017, while he was recording his first career tackle.
He cannot walk. He cannot breathe without a ventilator. It takes him about two hours every morning to get ready for the day.
“You depend on another person for pretty much everything in your life now,” Abercrombie said during the feature. “And I’m still hoping that that’ll change.”
Abercrombie made it back from his Hoover, Ala., home to his Cambridge, Mass., campus for the first time during the week leading up to Harvard’s rivalry game this month against Yale, reconnecting with teammates and coaches. Players chanted his nickname, “Bad-ger,” when he arrived to Harvard Stadium.
“I love football,” Abercrombie said. “Just everything football has done for me.”
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.
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