Communication studies student named finalist for Orange Bowl Courage Award
Communication Studies | December 08, 2015
As appearing in the Capital One Orange Bowl website.
Colorado State’s Justin Hansen is a nominee for the 2015 Capital One Orange Bowl-FWAA Courage Award.
Hansen, a redshirt senior defensive lineman, has Asperger’s, a developmental disorder that affects one’s ability to socialize and communicate effectively.
“From the initial parts, my dad believed in me a lot more than I did,” Hansen told the Coloradoan last month. “There have been a lot of people who didn’t believe in me. That problem is not unique to me. There are a lot of people with my condition who are told they can’t do something. But with the help of my supporting family, I’ve been able to reach great heights, almost the highest a football player can go. I’m still surprised to this day how far I’ve come.”
Hansen has eight tackles this season for the 7-5 Rams, and 39 total during his college career. The 6-foot-5, 305-pounder hopes to play in the NFL. If that does not work out, he would like to work in a field that allows him to meet people — a major hurdle for someone diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, and one that he has cleared.
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.
Previous winners of the Capital One Orange Bowl-FWAA Courage Award are Duke offensive lineman Laken Tomlinson (2014), San Jose State defensive lineman Anthony Larceval (2013), Clemson wide receiver Daniel Rodriguez (2012), Michigan State offensive lineman Arthur Ray Jr. (2011), Rutgers defensive tackle Eric LeGrand (2010), the University of Connecticut football team (2009), Tulsa’s Wilson Holloway (2008), Navy’s Zerbin Singleton (2007), Clemson’s Ray Ray McElrathbey (2006), the Tulane football team (2005), Memphis’ Haracio Colen (2004), San Jose State’s Neil Parry (2003) and Toledo’s William Bratton (2002).