Dec. 20, 2013
DALLAS (FWAA) - San José State's Anthony Larceval has been named the winner of the 2013 Discover Orange Bowl-FWAA Courage Award.
Larceval becomes the second player from San José State to win the Courage Award after Neil Parry (2003), now a graduate assistant defensive coach on the Spartans football team.
Larceval will be honored on the field of the Discover Orange Bowl on Jan. 3 and will also receive his trophy at the bowl's AvMed Coaches Luncheon on Jan. 2.
The 6-2, 284-pound defensive tackle from Spring Valley, Calif., was named second team All-Western Athletic Conference in 2012, but he never made it to the team's bowl practices. On Dec. 14, 2012, he was admitted to the hospital and diagnosed with viral meningoencephalitis, a virus that infects and causes swelling in the brain. After slipping into unconsciousness, he didn't awake until Jan. 5, 2013 and completely missed San José State's 29-20 Military Bowl victory over Bowling Green on Dec. 27, 2012.
"I think back a lot on it," Larceval said. "I went a month without knowing any part of my life. I essentially lost a month. I reflect on it, knowing I missed the Military Bowl, Christmas, my dad's birthday and New Year's. It hurts."
Larceval lost 40 pounds and needed outpatient speech, physical, occupational and recreational therapy to recover. Although the San José State medical staff said he would miss the 2013 season, Anthony defied the prognosis and was back with the team at the start of preseason camp in August.
"My mother definitely didn't want me to come back and play," Larceval said. "My dad was pushing me to move on. All the time I was thinking of my three younger brothers and that was motivation to come back and do everything and my teammates wearing my name and number in the Military Bowl. Seeing their reactions when I came back on field was tremendous."
During the Spartans' 6-6 2013 season, Larceval made nine tackles (six unassisted) and had one quarterback hurry. He is a child development major who wants to become a teacher and/or a coach.
Parry, who suffered a compound fracture during a 2000 game that led to a partial amputation of his right leg, became the first player to come back and play college football with a prosthetic leg in 2003.
"After all he had gone through, he is one of the first coaches, persons around San José State to come to me and put his arm around me and let me know he was there for me in every way," Larceval said. "When he told me to never give up, that was big encouragement. It was the only thing I could control."
"To see where Anthony was and to see what he went through, nobody thought he was going to be able to come back and play football again. When he got out of the hospital, comes into the (football) office, to see the shape he was in, to be able to get back on to the field is one thing, but to be productive is another," Parry said. "Anthony is a great young man and put a lot of work into coming back this year. He did a heck of a job just to get back to a normal life and to get back to being a Division I football player is another. It's very fitting for Anthony to receive this award."
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.
"Anthony's story was quite unusual and moving," said FWAA Executive Director Steve Richardson. "We had numerous good stories of players and others who personified what this award is all about. His was certainly compelling."
Previous winners of the FWAA's Courage Award are 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 José State's Neil Parry (2003) and Toledo's William Bratton (2002). Since Rodriguez' Clemson team is facing Ohio State in this year's Discover Orange Bowl, he also will attend the luncheon on Jan. 2.
The Orange Bowl is a 351-member, primarily-volunteer non-profit sports organization that promotes and serves the South Florida community. The Orange Bowl features a year-round schedule of events culminating with the Discover Orange Bowl on January 3, 2014. Other Orange Bowl core events include the MetroPCS Orange Bowl Basketball Classic, Orange Bowl Youth Football Alliance presented by Sports Authority, Orange Bowl International Tennis Championships, Orange Bowl International Youth Regatta, Orange Bowl Swim Classic and Orange Bowl Paddle Championships. For more information on the 2013-14 Orange Bowl events, including promotional and volunteer opportunities through the Ambassador Program, visit www.orangebowl.org.
The Football Writers Association of America, a non-profit organization founded in 1941, consists of more than 1,200 men and women who cover college football. The membership includes journalists, broadcasters and publicists, as well as key executives in all the areas that involve the game. The FWAA works to govern areas that include gameday operations, major awards and its annual All-America team. For more information about the FWAA and its award programs, contact Steve Richardson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 972-713-6198.