Celebrating one of the best athletic years in school history, Baylor Athletics hosted its annual Golden Bruiser Awards Show on Sunday, August 15th, 2021. The awards featured a mixture of academic and athletic achievements, including the John Westbrook Award for Courage and Perseverance. The “B” Association established this award in 2009 in honor of John Hill Westbrook, who made history in 1966 when he broke the color barrier, becoming the first African-American to play in a Southwest Conference football game despite the racial challenges that existed during that time. The award is presented annually to one male and one female Baylor student-athlete who has overcome great personal, academic and/or emotional challenges to achieve academic success while making positive contributions to their respective teams, families, and communities. This year’s John Westbrook Award winners are Didi Richards and Terrel Bernard.
A star on the Baylor Women’s Basketball team, Didi Richards was more than ready for her senior season when a tragic accident occurred. Richards, the national defensive player of the year last season for the Big 12 champion Lady Bears, went up to intercept a pass at practice, when she collided with teammate, Moon Ursin, in mid air. After both falling to the floor, Richards briefly passed out, but after coming to she realized she couldn’t move or feel from her hips down. The incident occurred on October 24th, 2020. Part of her rehab was working with an anti-gravity treadmill, which uses a pressurized air chamber to reduce the gravitational load, allowing Richards to walk without putting full weight on her legs. Then around Nov. 5, she was able to get up from a chair and walk by herself without support from the walker or anything else. On Nov. 18, Baylor Tweeted a video of Richards shooting jump shots. 38 full days after the incident Richards defied her doctors’ expectations and was back with her team helping them pick up a win over South Florida on December 2. Richards bounced back better than anyone could have hoped, and played her entire season. To read more about Didi, click here.
In Baylor’s game against Iowa State last November, Terrel Bernard knew his shoulder was in bad shape, but was determined to finish the game. Bernard fractured parts of his glenoid, tore his labrum, and suffered a HAGL lesion. During spring practice, Bernard had not yet been cleared, so he was forced to quit tackling and transition into a player-coach to continue to learn Baylor’s defensive scheme.
Doctors cleared Bernard a couple weeks before the Big 12 Media Days. While he was away, Bernard transitioned and conditioned his body to be in the best shape he has been in for a long time. Bernard was named to the Bednarik Award preseason Watch List. The award is given to the nation’s top player on defense. To read more on Terrel Bernard’s story, please click here.
To read about all of the 2021 Golden Bruisers Award winners, click here.
Sic ’em Baylor Letterwinners!
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