The following release is from the Mayo Clinic and the College Sports Information Directors of America. Shaun Crawford of Notre Dame, Hunter Spriggs of Chapman University, and Isaiah Weston of the University of Northern Iowa have all been named as nominees for the 2019 Mayo Clinic Comeback Player of the Year Award.
ROCHESTER, Minn. - The College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA), in association with The Associated Press (AP) and the Fiesta Bowl Organization, have selected three college football student-athletes-Shaun Crawford of Notre Dame, Hunter Spriggs of Chapman University and Isaiah Weston of the University of Northern Iowa-as nominees for the 2019 Mayo Clinic Comeback Player of the Year Award.
Ten times during the 2019 college football season, three inspiring student-athletes from all levels of college football, who have overcome injury, illness or other challenges, will be recognized as Mayo Clinic Comeback Player of the Year Nominees by a panel of writers, editors and sports information directors from CoSIDA, AP and Touchdown Illustrated. CoSIDA members can nominate student-athletes at Comeback-Player.com.
Previous nominees are: Ashton Antwine (Northeastern State), Kaleb Barker (Troy), Shaq Bond (Utah State), Jamieson Craske (Stetson), Aaron Crawford (UNC), Frazier Daniel (Mount Union), Jonathan Haden (UAB), Jaquan Hemphill (Hardin-Simmons), Justin Herron (Wake Forest), Caleb Huntley (Ball State), Jake Luton (Oregon State), Deiontae Nicholas (Wayne State), Josh Paschal (Kentucky), Isaiah Pola-Mao (USC), CJ Sanders (SMU), La’Andre Thomas (Memphis), Amadeo West (Army), Drew Wilson (Georgia Southern), Octavion Wilson (Salisbury), Antoine Winfield Jr. (Minnesota) and D.J. Wonnum (South Carolina).
At the end of the season, three of the nominees will be chosen as Mayo Clinic Comeback Player of the Year Award winners and will be recognized at a special ceremony during the College Football Playoff Semifinal at the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Ariz. Additionally, $30,000 will be donated in the names of the nine student-athletes selected as finalists to their school’s general scholarship fund, with $15,000 being awarded in the names of the three winners and $15,000 on behalf of the six named honorable mention.
For more details, follow on social media at @ComebackPlayrFB and #MayoClinicCPOY, or visit www.Comeback-Player.com. Here’s a look at this week’s nominees:
Shaun Crawford, a defensive back for the University of Notre Dame, has had his season cut short due to injuries that required surgery for three of the past four seasons-a torn ACL in training camp in 2015, an Achilles injury after two games in 2016, and then another torn ACL during fall camp last year. In 2017, his only full season on the field, the Lakewood, Ohio, native played in 12 games, recording 32 tackles, seven passes defensed, five pass break-ups, two forced fumbles and two interceptions. Through the first four games this year, the 5-foot, 9-inch, 180-pound cornerback was once again a vital contributor for the Irish defensive backfield before suffering a dislocated elbow on Sept. 29 versus Virginia. The painful injury was initially thought to be season-ending, but remarkably Crawford missed just two games before returning to the Irish defensive backfield this past week versus Michigan.
Hunter Spriggs, an offensive lineman for Chapman University, a Division III school in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC), returned to the field at right tackle on Oct. 19 versus Occidental College after a two-year absence. The senior business administration major from El Dorado Hills, Calif., was diagnosed with leukemia in July 2017 and despite treating it with oral chemotherapy, the cancer returned in May 2018 as acute lymphoblastic leukemia and a second aggressive type chronic myeloid leukemia. He underwent a bone marrow transplant and more chemotherapy that summer and just two weeks after his chest port was taken out, he was back in the weight room. He took about 50 pills a day, a combination of immunosuppressant drugs, and wore a mask to protect against bacteria. Spriggs returned to school for the 2019 spring semester and immediately rejoined the team.
Isaiah Weston, a wide receiver for the University of Northern Iowa, missed last season after suffering a season-ending ACL injury on the first week of fall camp. The native of St. Michael-Albertville, Minn., was coming off a strong freshman campaign for the Panthers, earning Missouri Valley Football Conference All-Freshman honors with 22 receptions for 380 yards and five TDs. Through eight games this year, he leads the MVFC with 856 yards, 10 TDs and 26.8 yards per catch including touchdown receptions in seven consecutive games.
”We understand how challenging it can be for student-athletes to return from injury or illness,” says Dr. Michael Stuart, co-director for Mayo Clinic Sports Medicine. “We are honored to be part of this award that recognizes qualities like motivation, determination and perseverance.”
About Mayo Clinic: Mayo Clinic is a nonprofit comprehensive organization committed to clinical practice, education and research, providing expert comprehensive care to everyone who needs healing. Learn more about Mayo Clinic. Visit the Mayo Clinic News Network.
About CoSIDA (College Sports Information Directors of America): CoSIDA was founded in 1957 and is a 3,000+ member national organization comprised of the sports public relations, media relations and communications/information professionals throughout all levels of collegiate athletics in the United States and Canada. The organization is the second oldest management association in intercollegiate athletics. To learn more, visit cosida.com.