United States Basketball Writers Association April 3, 2008
For Immediate Release
Contact: Joe Mitch
Former NAIA All-American returns from spinal injury

ST. LOUIS (USBWA) LSU-Shreveport basketball player Josh Porter, considered a walking miracle after returning to play for the Pilots this season following a life-threatening neck injury he sustained in a game the previous season, has been selected winner of the U.S. Basketball Writers Association's Most Courageous Award.


Porter, a Shreveport, La., native, fractured the vertebrae in his neck in a collision with a teammate during a game in November 2006. Porter fell so hard that the plastic facemask he wore to protect a broken nose shot across the floor upon impact.

Porter lay motionless on the court for several minutes before being stabilized and then transported to an area hospital for treatment.

There, doctors performed a two-hour surgical a procedure to fuse his vertebrae back together.

Only later did Porter learn how terribly close he came to becoming a quadriplegic and possibly dying.

His doctor, neurosurgeon Dr. Anil Nanda, said less than one percent of those who sustain injuries similar to Josh's ever regain movement or even live.

"I've seen several spinal cord injuries at LSU," said Dr. Nanda, "and this is probably only the third time I've seen something like this."

Following 10 months of rehabilitation and recovery, Porter was back playing basketball again at LSU-Shreveport this past fall. He returned to his old form from two years ago when he was an NAIA All-American and led the Pilots in scoring this season, averaging over 22 points a game and ranking among the top five scorers nationally in the NAIA.

"I think he is the most courageous young man in college basketball right now," said his coach, Chad McDowell. "To come back when everyone says you were supposed to be paralyzed, it takes what you're talking about courage."

Porter will receive the Most Courageous Award at the USBWA College Basketball Awards breakfast held in conjunction with the NCAA Final Four in San Antonio beginning at 8 a.m. on Fri., April 4, at Sunset Depot. He'll also be honored at the USBWA's annual business meeting and breakfast at 9 a.m. on Mon., April 7, at the Marriott Riverwalk.

The U.S. Basketball Writers Association was formed in 1956 at the urging of then-NCAA Executive Director Walter Byers. Today, it is one of the most influential organizations in college basketball. For more information on the USBWA and its awards, contact executive director Joe Mitch at 314-421-0339.

Related link:
USBWA Most Courageous Award