The Ed Block Courage Award Foundation has announced that linebacker Jameel McClain is the recipient of the 2013 Ed Block Courage Award for the Baltimore Ravens. The award is voted on by the Ravens players.
McClain suffered a spinal cord contusion in Baltimore's Week 13 game against the Washington Redskins last season. McClain was placed on injured reserve and was told by at least one doctor that he would never play the game of football again.
McClain never lost belief in his ability to recover from his injury. He was placed on the Physical Unable to Perform list to start the 2013 season. After sitting out the required six weeks he returned to action in Week 7 against the Pittsburgh Steelers. It had been more than 10 months since he played in a game, and he returned as a starter.
"People counted me out," McClain stated. "I was told I'd never play again and that I should focus on life after football. But I wasn't going to succumb. All I could do was believe in myself, which I've always done. I fought the odds before, and I'll fight the odds again. I've always believed in myself and tuned out the negativity. If you look now, I'm still here – still doing what I love and fighting for my team."
Off the field, McClain is highly active in the Baltimore community. Since arriving in Baltimore, he has forged a strong relationship with the Salvation Army Baltimore Area Command. McClain, who spent a period of his lifetime living out of a Salvation Army shelter, makes a conscious effort to give back to the organization. Annually, McClain hosts 53 Families, a Thanksgiving food drive, and kicks off the annual Red Kettle Campaign as its spokesperson.
The Courage Award is named after Ed Block, the longtime head athletic trainer of the Baltimore Colts who was a pioneer in his profession and a respected humanitarian. Some of his most significant contributions came in the tireless manner in which he gave of himself to help improve the lives of children. He stood for courage and championed the cause of those whodisplayed that characteristic. His work and philosophy continue today through the Foundation that bears his name.The Foundation's efforts are endorsed by the NFL and the Professional Football Athletic Trainers Society (PFATS).