First Courage Award nominee announced


Mike Liotta | Orange Bowl

DALLAS (FWAA) - Sam Houston State’s senior linebacker Eric Fieilo is the first weekly nominee for the 2013 Discover Orange Bowl-FWAA Courage Award that will be announced at the end of the season.

Overcoming a serious neck injury suffered at the beginning of last season, Fieilo leads the Bearkats in tackles a year later.

Early in the first quarter of Sam Houston State’s 2012 season opener against Incarnate Word, Fieilo made a tackle and landed awkwardly. After laying motionless on the field for several minutes, he was immobilized and taken to the hospital. “I really thought I was paralyzed when I was on the floor,” Fieilo told The Houstonian later. “[The trainers] thought I was paralyzed, too. The only thing I could do was move my head.”

After Fieilo regained feeling in his extremities, he was diagnosed with a slipped disc in his vertebrae, which was removed and replaced. Doctors took a bone from Fieilo’s hip to replace the slipped disc. While recovering from the surgery that left scars on his neck and side, Fieilo sat out last season and helped the coaching staff.

Through the first four games of the 2013 season, Fieilo had racked up 28 tackles, two for losses, including one sack. During No.4-ranked Sam Houston State’s only loss of the season to Division I Football Bowl Subdivision Texas A&M, Fieilo intercepted Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Johnny Manziel.

Fieilo, married with a child, plans a career in law enforcement. He maintains a 3.00-plus GPA.


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