Reporting Kai Jackson
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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — During a congratulatory phone call to coach John Harbaugh, President Obama expressed his admiration for former Ravens linebacker O.J. Brigance.
Brigance, who suffers from ALS, was the inspiration for the team’s Super Bowl victory.
Kai Jackson talked with Brigance about this incredible journey.
For several years, O.J. Brigance has been inspiring others with his story–especially the Ravens. Now he’s being honored for his hard work.
It was a magical moment when the Baltimore Ravens won Super Bowl XLVII on Feb. 3 in New Orleans. Members of the team are quick to credit former player O.J. Brigance for inspiring them.
“O.J. Brigance said it, ‘We’re a team of vision.’ We never took our eyes off the prize,” said Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs.
Brigance knows about big victories–he played with Ray Lewis in 2001 when the Ravens won their first Lombardi Trophy, after beating the New York Giants in Superbowl XXXV.
On Friday, the Babe Ruth Foundation honored O.J. and Chanda Brigance with their community service award for their work to fight ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s Disease.
“While I am very humbled when people say I’m an inspiration, my belief is that the same I have deep in my heart is available to everybody,” Brigance said.
Years after the Super Bowl, a diagnosis of ALS sidelined the former linebacker from doing things most of us take for granted. He’s confined to a wheelchair and uses a computer to speak.
“I believe despite my diagnosis I will walk again,” he said.
The Ravens promoted Brigance to senior advisor of player development. O.J.’s wife–Chanda–and that job gives him purpose and the gift of inspiration. Even President Obama complimented Brigance after the Super Bowl.
“I saw that wonderful story on SportsCenter about O.J. Brigance,” the president said.
O.J. Brigance is 43 years old. The Babe Ruth Birthplace Community Foundation Award was established to honor a current or former professional athlete with ties to the Maryland community.
Brigance is one of the few players who was won both the Grey Cup in Canada and the Super Bowl.