UConn Football Captain, Fairfield Basketball Player Get Courage Awards

Print icon

Life is unpredictable, but two local college athletes prove that tenacity and resilience is as important as physical prowess, a trait that earned them designation as February’s Hartford HealthCare Connecticut Courage Award winners.

The awards are given by the system, in association with the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA), to student athletes who demonstrate courage in the face of adversity. The honorees – chosen by a panel of writers, editors and sports information directors from CoSIDA, AP and College Hoops Illustrated — receive a plaque and a donation to their college’s general scholarship fund in their names.

Courage AwardHonored at ceremonies Feb. 12 were Eli Thomas, captain of the 2019 University of Connecticut football team, and Sam Kramer, a basketball player at Fairfield University. (Above, Thomas receives the award from former UConn basketball player Rebecca Lobo. Kramer, at  top, with Lobo after receiving her award.)

Thomas transferred to UConn from Lackawanna Junior College in 2017 after overcoming three knee surgeries. He started as linebacker in 2018 but suffered a stroke that Oct. 10. Drawing on steely determination and inner strength, he has made an incredible recovery and while his career playing the sport is over, Thomas was chosen to be the team’s captain in 2019 and still works out and travels with them.

Kramer’s battles were less physical but equally daunting. The day after Christmas 2018, her father died after a sudden illness, a blow that forced her to lean heavily on her teammates. She missed just two games, returning as the team’s starting point guard and leading the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference in three-point percentage. This season, Kramer is a team captain and proving to be a vital leader.

“Hartford HealthCare is excited to recognize these two remarkable young student-athletes, who, despite setbacks, have overcome challenges to continue to perform their best as both scholars and athletes,” said Jeffrey A. Flaks, president and chief executive officer of Hartford HealthCare. “Our organization’s purpose is to help people live their healthiest lives, and both Eli and Sam’s courageous stories of recovery and perseverance are an inspiration to all.”

In May, one male and one female student-athlete will be chosen from the finalists as Hartford HealthCare Connecticut Courage Award Winners. Hartford HealthCare will donate $15,000 to the general scholarship funds for the student-athletes selected as finalists, with $2,500 being awarded in the names of each of the two winners and $10,000 on behalf of the other 10 finalists.

Sports information directors at all colleges and universities in Connecticut can nominate deserving male and female intercollegiate student-athletes through March 30 at HartfordHealthCareCourageAwards.com.


What's New


Inpatient Rehab Team Engages Bride-to-be

Laura Day had a lot to look forward to – her two-year old daughter was anticipating Santa’s arrival, she had a baby on the way, and life with her boyfriend was good. In the days before Christmas, Laura was stricken with a stomach bug – nothing out of the ordinary,...

Opioids

Connecticut’s drug-related deaths up 18 percent in 2019

The numbers tell a sobering story – after a dip in deaths from drug overdoses in 2018, Connecticut recorded 1,200, or 18 percent more, drug-related deaths in 2019, according to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. The one stagnant piece of information in the equation, however, is the fact...


World Lymphedema Day is March 6th

On Friday, March 6th, therapists from Hartford HealthCare Rehabilitation Network will be on hand at several locations throughout the state to provide information about lymphedema services in recognition of World Lymphedema Day.  In preparation for the event, Linda Hodgkins, MS OTR/L CLT-LANA, Clinical Program Manager for HHCRN’s lymphedema services, answers...


11th Healthy Family FunFest set for Feb. 23

Now celebrating its 11th year, Healthy Family FunFest will provide thousands of visitors access to information about healthy living, fitness, health screenings and a wide variety of resources, services, demonstrations, hands-on learning, friendly challenges, and interactive activities. This free event features more than 100 tables showcasing Hartford HealthCare service lines...

UHart

Hartford HealthCare to Provide Health Services for UHart Students

Hartford HealthCare and the University of Hartford have announced a partnership for the health system to provide health services to students.  Hartford HealthCare President and Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Flaks was joined by University President Greg Woodwood and  UHart alum and Hartford HealthCare staff member Latasha Raineault during halftime of...

Dr. Elena Bortan

Movement Disorders Care Comes to Mystic

Much as the design of the new Hartford HealthCare facility at 100 Perkins Farms Drive in Mystic reflects the vibe of coastal community, the location of specialists from the HHC Ayer Neuroscience Institute’s Chase Family Movement Disorders Center to the facility answers a demand for high-quality care and support in...