JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – Carson-Newman linebacker Jarell Emanuel and head athletic trainer Mike Van Bruggen are finalists for the 2013 Excellence in Aquatics Award.
The award recognizes athletic training professionals and the athletes they treated who, despite all odds, garnered superior rehabilitation results through innovative, and sometimes unconventional, methods involving aquatics as a medium to help achieve exceptional results.
Fans have seven days left to vote for the pair before the polls close.
Emanuel sustained a fractured fibula when he was hit on the lateral aspect of his lower leg during practice 12 days away from the Eagles' opening game in 2012. However, Van Bruggen and the athletic training staff at Carson-Newman had treated a similar injury two years earlier.
Their rehabilitation plan began two days after the injury with Emanuel walking chest deep in their HydroWorx 1200 Series pool.
Within two weeks, Emanuel had progressed from walking to jogging, to running and eventually sprinting underwater. After those two weeks of underwater treadmill training and aquatic therapy, the student-athlete transitioned to running on land.
Emanuel then began non-contact participation and was finally cleared for contact on September 17 - just one month after sustaining the fracture. Despite missing three games, Emanuel went on to make 34 tackles while starting five of C-N's final seven games. He was fourth on the team in tackles per game for the season and led the Eagles with a career high 13 stops in his fourth game back against Brevard.
The finalists for the award are:
- Carson-Newman College Football for Facilitating the Rapid Return from a Fractured Fibula
- The Duke Basketball Sports Medicine Team for Managing Potential Season-Ending Injuries to Key Players
- Eric Sugarman and the Minnesota Vikings Athletic Training Staff for the Rehabilitation of Adrian Peterson
- Nova Southeastern University's Dustin Gatens MS, ATC for the Rehabilitation of Basketball Player Brian Cahill
Voting is open until midnight on Thursday, June 20. Individuals may vote as many times per day as they wish. This year's winner will be announced at the National Athletic Trainers' Assocation's 64th annual meeting and clinical symposium in Las Vegas, Nev. on Wednesday, June 24th.