Portland State’s Isaiah Woods named latest 2018 Capital One Orange Bowl-FWAA Courage Award Nominee


woods_2Portland State’s Isaiah Woods is this week’s nominee for the 2018 Capital One Orange Bowl-FWAA Courage Award. Woods, a junior, has been public about his battle with depression, helping to eliminate the stigma surrounding mental health and football.

“I’ll have to manage it for the rest of my life,” Woods told The New York Times of his mental illness. “You see, it doesn’t just go away like most people think. That doesn’t mean I can’t live my life. It doesn’t mean I can’t go for my goals.”

Woods began his career at Washington in 2015, catching 13 passes for 178 yards as a freshman. But he felt an emptiness. He first tried to kill himself shortly after Christmas, according to The Times, and he tried again the following March when he returned to his mother’s house in Los Angeles. He shared his struggles on Twitter in May, announcing that he was leaving school.

Woods has shared his story recently with a number of national media outlets. He enrolled at Portland State this past spring, joining the Vikings for spring practice after two years away from football. With the help of his girlfriend Madison, he weathered some dark days and worked his way back to the field, playing in seven games and catching five passes for 47 yards.

“Maybe not playing as much as I wanted when I came back to the game was a good thing,” Woods told The Times of this season. “I am not a patient person, and this season taught me patience. It taught me that I need to remind myself to slow down, enjoy my surroundings, the people around me, the process I am on. And most of all, enjoy my life.”

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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