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October 28, 2020

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NCAA national honor to univeristy baseball team

The NCAA Honors Committee has named the 2007 Bluffton University baseball team andLieutenant Colonel Greg Gadson as recipients of the 2010 Award of Inspiration.

They will be recognized during the 2010 Honors Celebration in January at the NCAA Convention in Atlanta.

On March 2, 2007, a charter bus carrying 30 of 42 student-athletes and three coaches of the Bluffton University baseball team to their season opener in Florida, fell off an overpass onto Interstate 75 in Atlanta, killing five student-athletes and the driver and his wife.

Several student-athletes and coaches received life-threatening injuries and others were less critically injured. But on March 30, 2007, the team, including recuperating head coach James Grandey and assistant coaches Jason Moore and Todd Miller, returned to the field of play.

While the team lost, Bluffton scored five runs, which they say symbolically represented each of their teammates who lost their lives in the accident.

It was a traumatic experience for Bluffton's baseball student-athletes and the entire Bluffton University community, but most of these young men continued to play their sport and attend classes at Bluffton.

They persevered through the physical ordeals and emotional issues related to the accident. The team, with the support and encouragement from their friends, family, community members and strangers, demonstrated courage and determination to move forward after such a tragedy.

Twenty-four of the 25 surviving student-athletes who were on the bus will graduate. One student-athlete left Bluffton after the 2008 season to play baseball for a minor league team.

All are making positive contributions to their communities, continuing to provide examples of courage and determination and exemplifying what it means to be an NCAA student-athlete.

Lieutenant Colonel Greg Gadson

Gadson, a former football student-athlete at the U.S. Military Academy who later received a master's degree from Georgetown University, led his soldiers in Baghdad, Iraq, as Commander of the 2-32 Field Artillery Battalion during an operational surge in 2007. On the evening of May 7, 2007, Gadson's vehicle was struck by an improvised explosive device while his four-vehicle patrol was returning to the battalion headquarters following a memorial service. Gadson was severely injured, losing nearly 70 pints of blood. After being evacuated to Walter Reed Medical Center, he eventually had to have both legs amputated above the knee because of irreparable damage.

Not only did Gadson have to face and accept this life-altering injury, he had to come to grips with the fact that he would not be able to return to Baghdad to lead his soldiers into the completion of their mission.

As a former student-athlete and member of the military, Gadson has been leader for many years. He was a four-year letterman at Army and anchored a defensive unit that led Army to a 9-3 record his senior year, which included wins over Air Force and Navy and a trip to the Sun Bowl. His friends say Gadson has not allowed his injury to change his character. He is full of life, inspiring and dedicated to making a difference, they say. He speaks to various groups about courage, perseverance and teamwork.