Antwine nominated for national courage award
Defensive tackle Brandon Antwine has been nominated for the 2008 FedEx Orange Bowl/FWAA Courage Award, which will be presented at the end of the season to a college football player who has displayed courage on or off the field, including overcoming an injury or physical handicap, preventing a disaster or living through hardship.
A redshirt sophomore from Garland, Texas, Antwine 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 cell fibers.
Essentially a muscle in his lower back had died. Normal kidney function returned in several days, but the pain in his back got worse.
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.
Although he wasn't cleared for full contact until the second week of September, Antwine has contributed this season as a backup nose tackle.
The Courage Award was created by ESPN The Magazine's senior writer Gene Wojciechowski, and will be awarded in December.