TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Florida State tailback Chris Thompson and Miami defensive end Shayon Green are sharing this year's Atlantic Coast Conference Brian Piccolo Award given annually to the most courageous player in the conference.
Both athletes overcame serious injuries to become major contributors to their teams. The ACC announced made the announcement Thursday.
Thompson suffered a fractured back against Wake Forest in the Seminoles' fourth game of the 2011 season. He was required to be in an immobilizing brace for three months before beginning his rehabilitation. Thompson was the Seminoles leading rusher this year despite another season-ending injury in their eighth game against Miami. He had 687 yards rushing, averaging 7.5 yards a carry.
"There's not a more deserving young man to win the Brian Piccolo Award because he exhibits all the qualities that you hear associated with Brian Piccolo," said Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher. "Suffering the broken back and then having the determination to comeback from that and suffer the knee injury this year, he's been through a great deal. ... He is one of the most special guys I have ever had the privilege of coaching."
Green was Miami's leading tackler and team captain this fall after recovering from four major injuries that forced him to miss all or a major part of the last three previous seasons. He twice tore the ACL in his right knee, once tore the meniscus in his right knee and also suffered a wrist dislocation.
"Shayon is an amazing individual with an unparalleled work ethic," said Miami coach Al Golden. "I cannot think of anyone who exemplifies the ideals of Brian Piccolo or is more deserving of this award than him. ... His commitment and perseverance is an inspiration to us all."
Piccolo, a Wake Forest running back and ACC Athlete of the Year in 1965, played for the Chicago Bears before his death from cancer in 1970 at age 26. His life and death and close friendship with Bears running back Gayle Sayers were depicted in the film "Brian's Song."