Former Georgia outfielder Johnathan Taylor is nominated for the America’s Choice Honor for Courage in Sports, Intersport announced today. The America’s Choice Honor, wholly determined by fan voting, recognizes individuals that have overcome monumental challenges to achieve greatness in the world of sports. The winner will be announced on a one-hour “Courage in Sports” special airing at 5 p.m. ET Nov. 13 on CBS.
Each week for six weeks, two inspirational sports stories will be featured on the Courage in Sports Facebook page (www.facebook.com/CourageInSports). The top weekly vote-getter will proceed to the finals, which run Oct. 3-16.
A junior outfielder on one of the nation’s best teams, Taylor was off to an impressive start in the Bulldogs’ 2011 baseball season when his life changed as he knew it. On Mar. 6, Taylor was playing center field against Florida State when he collided with left fielder Zach Cone as both players dove for a line drive in the gap. While Cone came away with a concussion and a gash on his head, Taylor suffered a broken neck that left him paralyzed from the waist down.
After undergoing surgery the following day, Taylor began a grueling rehabilitation process that he still continues today. Despite his injury, the Texas Rangers—who had earlier drafted Cone 37th overall—selected Taylor in the 33rd round of the 2011 MLB Draft, honoring his tremendous strength and determination in the face of adversity. Intent on one day playing again for the Bulldogs, Taylor turned down any contract offer from the Rangers to preserve his NCAA eligibility. He has since returned to Georgia to complete his degree and continue rehab, where he is showing signs of improvement.
The other week four nominee is the Fennville High School (Mich.) boys basketball team, a group of young men who came together following the death of a teammate to make a serious push toward the Michigan state championship, helping both the family and community find much-needed strength in a time of tragedy. Current finalists include Eric LeGrand of Rutgers, Arthur Ray Jr. of Michigan State, and Andrew, Colter Paul and Willy Phillips.
For more about Taylor or the Fennville High School basketball team or to support either nominee, visit www.Facebook.com/CourageInSports. Fans can vote as often as they would like and can share their vote with Facebook friends. Week four voting opened today and ends on Sunday, Sept. 18 at 11:59 p.m. ET.
Past Courage in Sports honorees include Hank Aaron, Cal Ripken Jr., Arthur Ashe, Kerri Strug, Walter Payton and Muhammad Ali.
For 25 years, Intersport has been an award-winning innovator and leader in the creation of sports and entertainment based marketing platforms. Intersport provides turnkey solutions for global brands by combining two award-winning divisions: Sponsorship & Event Marketing and Television & Digital Media.