Nov 29, 2012
Greensboro, N.C. — Florida State running back Chris Thompson and Miami defensive end Shayon Green, who both overcame severe injuries to contribute for their teams in 2012, were named co-winners of the Brian Piccolo Award, the Atlantic Coast Conference announced Thursday.
The Piccolo Award has been given annually since 1972 and honors the "most courageous" football player in the league.
Piccolo was the ACC Athlete of the Year in 1965 and played for the Chicago Bears before his career was cut short when he was stricken with cancer. His courageous fight against that disease was an inspiration to the Bears and the entire football community.
Thompson suffered a fractured back against Wake Forest in the Seminoles’ fourth game of the season in 2011, suffering compression fractures to his fifth and sixth thoracic vertebrae.
After extensive rehabilitation, he came back to be Florida State’s leading rusher, with 687 yards on 91 carries and a sparkling 7.5 yards-per-carry average, including touchdown runs of 74 and 80 yards. Unfortunately, Thompson suffered a season-ending knee injury in Florida State’s eighth game of the year against Miami. At the time of his injury, he was the second-leading rusher in the ACC and still ranks third.
Despite missing the final three games of the season, he was voted second-team All-ACC by the Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association.
Green had to overcome four different major injuries. He twice tore the ACL in his right knee, once tore the meniscus in his right knee and also suffered a wrist dislocation, forcing him to miss all or major parts of the 2009, 2010 and 2011 seasons.
Finally healthy, Green was the leading tackler and one of the key leaders to a young Miami defense, with 38 of his 67 tackles unassisted, 2.0 tackles for loss and a fumble recovery. He is the first Miami defensive linemen to lead the Hurricanes in tackles for a season in more than 30 years.
North Carolina's Gio Bernard won the award in 2011.