The Fairfield County Sports Commission today announced that Sacred Heart head football coach Paul Gorham is the 2012 Chelsea Cohen Courage Award winner. Gorham will be honored at the Commission's 8th annual Sports Night awards dinner, Monday, Oct.15 at the Hyatt Regency Greenwich at 6 pm.
The Cohen Award is sponsored by the Forever Young Foundation, the charitable giving entity of Greenwich native and NFL Hall of Famer Steve Young. In 2006, the Commission created the Chelsea Cohen Courage Award, named after the late Cohen, a former Norwalk High soccer star who was the Commission's first Courage Award recipient in 2005. She passed away in Aug. 2006 after a courageous bout with a rare form of cancer of the nervous system. The award recognizes the person in the sports community who has shown inspirational strength in battling life-altering obstacles.
In Gorham's name, Forever Young and the FCSC will make a donation of $2,000 to the Commission's Chelsea Cohen Fitness Academy.
Gorham faced an unknown opponent in February when he began fighting for his life against idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, a disease of the lungs that's only cure was a double lung transplant. After undergoing the double lung transplant, it came at a huge cost as he lost the lower portion of both legs due to circulation problems brought on by procedures he had done prior to the transplants.
The Sacred Heart coach is still receiving medical treatment and is working hard to be involved with the program as much as he can for associate head coach Mark Nofri, who now is handling the head coaching duties.
Last year's Courage Award was presented to SOC (SEAL) Brian R. Bill, United States Navy. Bill, a Stamford native, was killed in action on Aug. 6, 2011 in Afghanistan.
Previous winners are:
2010-Ken Green, a Danbury native who lost a leg in a car accident and continued to play professional golf
2009-James Hilaire of Stamford, a soccer goalie at the University of New Haven who suffered a traumatic head injury during game action
2008 - Mike Myers-Keitt, a Norwalk native and Fairfield Prep graduate, who was seriously injured in a fall during a basketball game
2007 - John Tartaglio, a Milford resident and Fairfield University graduate, who as a double amputee competed in triathlons and road races
2006 - Jason Maiella, a standout baseball player at Sacred Heart University, who was the first winner of the award in Cohen's name.
The primary goal of the Cohen Fitness Academy is to create a year-round vehicle that offers Fairfield County youth access to the best available fitness trainers, coaches, and health and wellness programs that provide opportunities to be active daily. The academy is designed to be the rallying point to engage all important community stakeholders in children's health, nutrition and in the fight to combat childhood obesity. Also to take that information and extend its reach throughout the entire area via the Sports Commission's web site (www.fairfieldcountysports.com).
Forever Young Foundation is a non-profit, public 501(c) (3) organization whose mission is to pass on hope and resources for the development, strength, and education of children. Each year, through the efforts and vision of Steve Young, thousands of seriously ill, underprivileged, and at risk children are given therapeutic, academic, and athletic opportunities they would otherwise never receive. For more information, visit www.foreveryoung.org.
The Fairfield County Sports Commission is a 501c (3) non-profit organization that promotes fitness and an active, healthy lifestyle, and personal development through sports.