The NCAA has selected O.J. Brigance as one of two recipients for its annual Inspiration Award.
Brigance, the Ravens senior advisor to player engagement, will be recognized at the NCAA Honors Celebration Friday in San Antonio.
Brigance played his college football at Rice University before going on to play professionally in both the NFL and the Canadian Football League. After his seven-year NFL career, Brigance returned to the Ravens in 2004 to work in player development and has been with the team since that time.
Brigance is in the middle of a fight with ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease), and he was diagnosed with the illness in 2007. Even in the face of that disease, Brigance has continued to work for the Ravens and his daily presence at the Under Armour Performance Center has been pointed to as a source of inspiration for many players and coaches.
"O.J. Brigance is the most influential person in our organization," Head Coach John Harbaugh said. "In a building of strong men, he is the strongest we have. You are energized each and every day to see how he attacks every day with an enthusiasm unknown to mankind, and we are blessed to have such an inspiring man with us every day."
Since being diagnosed with ALS, Brigance and his wife, Chanda, started the Brigance Brigade foundation to support people also dealing with the disease. Brigance also wrote a book, Strength of a Champion, detailing his battle.
While the disease creates physical limitations and has confined Brigance to a wheelchair, it does not impact a person's mental capacity. Brigance's work through the foundation has raised awareness for the disease and he continues to work on finding a cure.
In addition to Brigance, the NCAA will also honor former college basketball player Lauren Hill with the Inspiration Award. Hill with receive the award posthumously after she died following a battle with a brain tumor.