NORFOLK, Va., June 12, 2017—Former Norfolk State University women’s basketball player Amber Brown was presented the 2017 Wilma Rudolph Student-Athlete Achievement Award during a luncheon held by the National Association of Academic Advisors for Athletics (N4A) this past Saturday at the World Center Marriott Resort.
Brown was diagnosed as a Type I diabetic after her freshman season in 2014, and she took classes that summer to learn how to manage the disease. This included four insulin shots a day and constant monitoring of her sugar levels. On Jan. 1, 2016, Brown was found unresponsive in her dorm room; her blood sugar levels had spiked to 1400, and she suffered three strokes and went into cardiac arrest three times.
Kidney and liver damage also resulted, and Brown was placed under a medically-induced coma to prevent further damage to her brain because of the strokes and seizures. Though doctors believed Brown would never walk or talk again, she walked out of the hospital on her own after 40 days and returned to Norfolk State two months later.
Though she was unable to resume her playing career, Brown remained part of the team, attending every home game. She graduated this past May, receiving a degree in psychology.
The N4A Wilma Rudolph Student-Athlete Achievement Award is intended to honor student-athletes who have overcome great personal, academic, and/or emotional odds to achieve academic success while participating in intercollegiate athletics.
“On behalf of the N4A Board of Directors and our membership, I would like to congratulate the five recipients of the 2017 N4A Wilma Rudolph Award,” N4A President Kenneth Miles, assistant vice chancellor of academic affairs & executive director for the Cox Communications Academic Center for Student-Athletes at LSU, said in a release. “All of the recipients represent the spirit and achievement of Wilma Rudolph through their determination and education. Their profound impact is exponential and a model for all of us. It is with great distinction that we applaud their accomplishments. Wilma Rudolph reminds us that, ‘Triumph can’t be had without struggle,’ and struggle is the first step towards making progress. I know our recipients will continue to think the unthinkable and imagine the unimaginable because they are choosing their destiny.”
Brown was one of five student-athletes honored; also honored were Oregon State University wrestler Ali Khalid Alshujery, East Stroudsburg University swimmer Kelly Buyaskas, University of Wisconsin football player D’Cota Dixon and UCLA baseball player Nicholas Kern.