BALTIMORE (WJZ)—Linebacker Jameel McClain is this year’s recipient of the 2013 Ed Block Courage Award for the Baltimore Ravens.
McClain suffered a spinal cord contusion in Baltimore’s 2012 week 13 game against the Washington Redskins. Placed on injured reserve, he was told by at least one doctor that he would never play football again.
“People counted me out,” McClain said. “I was told I’d never play again and that I should focus on life after football. But I wasn’t going to succumb.”
Placed on the physically unable to perform list to start the 2013 season, McClain sat out six weeks before returning to action in week seven against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
“All I could do was believe in myself, which I’ve always done,” McClain said. “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–who spent a period of his lifetime living out of a Salvation Army shelter–gives back to the Salvation Army Baltimore Area Command. Annually, he 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.