LLUMC rehab patient receives ESPY Award
Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah, from Ghana, shown preparing for the 2004 San Diego Triathlon Challenge, received the Arthur Ashe Courage Award July 13 at the 2005 ESPY Awards presented by ESPN.
Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah, a rehabilitation and prosthetics patient at Loma Linda University Medical Center, received the ESPN Arthur Ashe Courage Award along with co-recipient and fellow disabled athlete Jim MacLaren on July 13 at Hollywood’s Kodak Theater. The award presentation was televised July 17 at 9:00 p.m. on ESPN. Oprah Winfrey handed out the award during the 13th annual awards program hosted by Matthew Perry. The Arthur Ashe Courage Award is annually given to individuals whose contributions transcend sports.
Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah embodies the steel resolve of the never-give-up attitude that is the hallmark of the award and its namesake. Originally from Ghana, Mr. Yeboah, born with a severely deformed right leg, has dedicated himself to changing the historically limiting stigma associated with disability in his home country. His relationship with Loma Linda University Medical Center began in 2002 at the East Campus Hospital-sponsored San Diego Triathlon Challenge, the largest fundraiser for the Challenged Athletes Foundation. It was here he first met Mike Davidson, a certified prosthetist at LLUMC East Campus Hospital. He and other staff encouraged Mr. Yeboah to seek evaluation for prosthetics. He received complimentary care at Loma Linda University Medical Center East Campus Hospital. Physicians amputated his deformed leg and started him on his road to rehabilitation and a new life with a prosthetic; all the while Mr. Yeboah stayed with staff member Fabio Maia for the entire three-month rehabilitation process as a personal guest.
The prosthetics department helped design and build Mr. Yeboah’s new prosthetic leg. The piece was the latest, state-of-the-art artificial leg that permitted Mr. Yeboah to bike and run using various adaptive devices, furthering him toward his goals in sports and beyond. The new leg has assisted Mr. Yeboah to continue the campaign for awareness in Ghana he began with his 370-mile bicycle journey across Ghana, using only one leg.
Last year, the Arthur Ashe Courage Award was presented to George Weah, the Liberian-born soccer legend who led his national team to greatness, at great personal and financial risk, in the midst of that nation’s political upheaval. In 2003, the award went to Pat and Kevin Tillman, brothers who gave up professional sports careers to serve their country by enlisting in the U.S. Army. (Pat Tillman was killed in combat April 22, 2004, in Afghanistan).
Besides Mr. Yeboah’s award, two other Loma Linda University Medical Center East Campus patients were nominees for an Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly (ESPY) in the category Best Male Athlete with Disability. Rudy Garcia-Tolson and Paul Martin, both Challenged Athletes Foundation athletes, competed in the 2004 Paralympic Games. Mr. Garcia-Tolson set the men’s world record in swimming the 200-meter individual medley. Mr. Martin won one silver and one bronze medal in cycling.
The ESPY Awards gather top celebrities from sports and entertainment to commemorate the past year in sports by recognizing major sports achievements, reliving unforgettable moments, and saluting the leading performers and performances.
The 2005 ESPY Awards included both sport-specific awards such as Best MLB Player and Best Women’s Tennis Player and distinguishing cross-cutter awards, categories that pit different sports against each other, such as Best Team or Best Female Athlete. The ESPY Awards are committed to the advancement of The V Foundation for Cancer Research, established by ESPN with the late Jim Valvano and announced at the inaugural ESPY Awards in 1993.