University of Florida senior punter David Lerner received the Dick Schapp Sportsman of the Year Award, an honor given by the Greater New York Chapter of the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA) at the Annual Memorial Awards Dinner Wednesday evening.
Previous winners of the Dick Schaap Sportsman of the Year Award include: Tommy Lasorda, Hall of Fame Manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Bill France, Commissioner of Nascar, Tim Finchem, Commissioner of the PGA and Joe Torre, former New York Yankees manager
"Most people have no idea how difficult it is to deal with this painful and debilitating disease," said Rhondell Domilici, Executive Director of the Greater New York Chapter of CCFA. "We are thrilled to honor David Lerner with this award. David's strength and courage in the face of adversity is an inspiration to the 1.5 million Americans suffering from Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. His determination is a true example of sportsmanship."
Lerner from Gainesville, Fla. was diagnosed with Crohn's disease in July, just weeks before beginning fall training camp with the Florida football team. Despite losing nearly 15 pounds and having to receive IV treatments he didn't miss a practice during fall camp. He eventually went on to win the starting punting job and was awarded a scholarship in August.
Lerner, who is also a nominee for the Discover Orange Bowl Courage Award, has seen action in six games for the Gators, recording 27 punts for 1,040 yards (38.5 yards per punt). Additionally, Lerner has landed seven punts inside opponents' 20-yard line.
The Annual Memorial Awards Dinner, which was held at the Sheraton Hotel on 7th Ave. in New York, raises funds for the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America. More information on the event can be found at http://www.ccfanydinner.com/.
(Thanks to Sam Newton of University of Florida Communications for contributing this report.)