Foundation News

O.J. Brigance Honored as 2016 NCAA Inspiration Award Winner

ALS Advocate and Brigance Brigade Foundation Co-Founder Inspires Others Through Determination and Fight Against the Disease

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The Brigance Brigade Foundation, an organization that supports people battling ALS (also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease) and their families created by former NFL player O.J. Brigance and his wife Chanda, today announced that O.J. Brigance has been honored by the NCAA as a 2016 NCAA Inspiration Award winner for his inspiring battle with, and work in support of, fighting ALS. The award will be presented at the NCAA Convention in January.

The NCAA Inspiration Award is presented to a coach or administrator currently associated with intercollegiate athletics, or to a current or former varsity letter-winner at an NCAA institution who, when confronted with a life-altering situation used perseverance, dedication and determination to overcome the event and most importantly, now serves as a role model to give hope and inspiration to others in similar situations.

For O.J. Brigance, that life-altering situation was a diagnosis of ALS in 2007. After playing college football at Rice University and being one of the few players to have won both a CFL and NFL championship (and the only player to do it in the same city, Baltimore), Brigance took a job in the Baltimore Ravens front office as the Director to Player Development. Since 2010, Brigance has been the Senior Advisor to Player Development, a role he continues to fill today even after ALS took away his ability to walk, talk, eat, breathe and move on his own.

“I have been blessed to enjoy some extraordinary triumphs and extreme challenges in my life. Three words in particular have been instrumental in determining how I remain humble through accomplishments and encouraged during adversities: faith, focus and fortitude,” said O.J. Brigance, Co-Founder of the Brigance Brigade Foundation. “I have discovered that you can never know your true strength without being tested by adversity. When I was diagnosed with ALS, after having a good cry with my wife, we determined in our hearts that we would not only fight the disease, but we would also help others fight ALS through the Brigance Brigade Foundation.”

Now confined to a wheelchair and able to speak only through a specialized computer that reads his eye movements, Brigance is inspiring people across the country with his strong-willed fight against the disease. He and his wife, Chanda Brigance, also created the Brigance Brigade Foundation to help others in their situation after seeing first-hand how much emotional, physical and financial support is needed to live with ALS. As a player who was always involved in organizations and volunteer efforts to help others, it is no surprise O.J. and Chanda Brigance have dedicated their efforts to equip, encourage and empower people living with ALS and their families.

Link to NCAA article: Lauren Hill, O.J. Brigance to receive 2016 NCAA Inspiration Award