Collegiate Football Players Overcoming Adversity to be Recognized with Mayo Clinic Comeback Player of the Year Award - Fiesta Bowl | Fiesta Bowl

Collegiate Football Players Overcoming Adversity to be Recognized with Mayo Clinic Comeback Player of the Year Award

Sep 20, 2018

New award presented by CoSIDA, The Associated Press and the Fiesta Bowl Organization honors players at all levels that have persevered to achieve on the college football field
Mayo Clinic to contribute $30,000 to general scholarship funds

ROCHESTER, Minn. — The College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) in association with The Associated Press (AP) and the Fiesta Bowl Organization, will recognize college football players who have overcome adversity with a new honor, the Mayo Clinic Comeback Player of the Year Award.

Ten times during the 2018 college football season, three inspiring student-athletes from all levels of college football who have overcome injury, illness or other challenges will be recognized as Mayo Clinic Comeback Player of the Year Nominees. CoSIDA members can nominate student-athletes through Friday, Nov. 9, 2018 at

At the end of the season, three student-athletes will be chosen as Mayo Clinic Comeback Player of the Year Award winners. Mayo Clinic, the premier sponsor, will donate $30,000 to the general scholarship funds for nine student-athletes selected as finalists, including $5,000 for each of the three winners and $2,500 for the six runners-up.  The three honorees will be recognized at a special ceremony during the 2019 PlayStation Fiesta Bowl. Nominees and winners will be selected by a panel of writers, editors and sports information directors from CoSIDA, AP and  Touchdown Illustrated as well as Fiesta Bowl representatives.

‘We thank Mayo Clinic for stepping forward to help us share the personal stories of student-athletes overcoming adversity,” says Doug Vance, executive director of CoSIDA. “Our goal is to help fans better appreciate the roads these student-athletes have traveled. We hope these stories of achievement can inspire other people to meet the challenges in their own lives.”

“We understand how challenging it can be for student-athletes to return from injury or illness,” says Dr. Michael Stuart, co-director Mayo Clinic Sports Medicine. “We are honored to be part of this award that recognizes qualities like motivation, determination and perseverance.”

Chad Pennington, the only player twice named professional football’s comeback player of the year award winner (2006, 2008) will serve as the Mayo Clinic Comeback Player of the Year Award ambassador. Pennington played his college football at Marshall University and was selected in the first-round of the 2000 NFL Draft by the New York Jets.

The program will be supported by a sponsored-content and advertising campaign in Touchdown Illustrated gameday programs at more than 1,000 college football games this season, and in most of the major bowl game programs – including the College Football Playoff, the National Championship program, the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl and Cheez-It Bowl – as well as selected NFL gameday programs.  Additionally, Pennington, will make media appearances to share some of the compelling stories and encourage CoSIDA members to nominate deserving players.


About Mayo Clinic

Mayo Clinic is a nonprofit medical practice and medical research group based in Rochester, Minnesota. It was recently named the #1 hospital in the U.S. in the U.S. News & World Report rankings of top hospitals.  It employs more than 4,500 physicians and scientists and 57,100 allied health staff.  Learn more at

About CoSIDA (College Sports Information Directors of America)

CoSIDA was founded in 1957 and is a 3,000+ member national organization comprised of the sports public relations, media relations and communications/information professionals throughout all levels of collegiate athletics in the United States and Canada.  The organization is the second oldest management association in intercollegiate athletics. To learn more, visit

About Associated Press

The Associated Press is the essential global news network, delivering fast, unbiased news from every corner of the world to all media platforms and formats. Founded in 1846, AP today is the most trusted source of independent news and information. On any given day, more than half the world’s population sees news from AP. On the web:

About the Fiesta Bowl Organization

The Fiesta Bowl is a world-class community organization that executes innovative experiences, drives economic growth and champions charitable causes, inspiring pride in all Arizonans. As a nonprofit organization, it believes in the importance of community outreach and service. Through charitable giving, the organization strives to enhance Arizona nonprofit organizations that contribute to the success of communities through youth, sports and education. Since 1971, the Fiesta Bowl has worked to increase its footprint across the state and work to benefit Arizonans year-round, during and outside of bowl season. In the month of December, the organization manages the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl, Cheez-It Bowl and the Fiesta Bowl Parade. Visit for more information.



Media Contacts

Doug Drotman ( or 631-462-1198)

Doug Vance, CoSIDA ( or 785-691-7708)