Emily Fogle, a RS senior from the Purdue University Swimming & Diving team, was named the Honda Inspiration Award winner as announced by Chris Voelz, Executive Director of THE Collegiate Women Sports Awards (CWSA) today. Fogle’s inspiring story will be highlighted during the live CBS Sports Network telecast of the 2016 Honda Cup presentation and 40th Celebration at 9 pm ET (6 pm PT), on Monday, June 27, from the USC Founders Club at Galen Center.
The Honda Inspiration Award has been given to a deserving female student-athlete in Division I, II or III for the past 28 years who has experienced extraordinary physical and/or emotional adversity, injury and/or illness, or experienced extraordinary personal sacrifice during her college enrollment as a student-athlete and yet returns to athletic success. Finalists for the 2016 award included junior gymnast Morgan Reynolds from the University of Georgia and senior field hockey player Breck Sullivan from Salisbury University.
"It is a tremendous honor to be recognized as the 2016 Honda Inspiration Award winner by the Collegiate Women Sports Awards," said Fogle. “To be recognized among such inspirational and motivational student-athletes, like the finalists Morgan and Breck, is quite a humbling experience. The trauma that I experienced during my six years at Purdue University will stay with me forever. However, the way in which I was able to overcome the adversity is largely thanks to the coaches, student-athletes, doctors, and administrators that never gave up on me, even when I gave up on myself."
After successful freshmen and sophomore campaigns in which she was a two-time Honorable Mention All-American and NCAA Qualifier, Fogle was again Purdue’s top performer in the breaststroke to start her junior season but began experiencing excruciating hip pain in the early fall. She underwent surgery in both hips over the course of the year and was granted a medical redshirt to return the following season as a junior.
In between surgeries, she began to battle anorexia nervosa, which after the sudden and unexpected death of her mother in 2013, progressed into a life-threatening situation while also suffering from depression. Determined to make it back to competitive swimming, she sought treatment in 2013, returned full-time to Purdue in 2014 and promptly underwent a second surgery on one of her hips.
Fogle finally returned to competition in the summer of 2014. She concluded her collegiate career as a five-time All-American and Purdue's program record holder in five events -- the 100 and 200 breaststroke, 200 individual medley, and 200 and 400 medley relays.
This season she became Purdue's first female swimmer to earn full-fledged All-America honors with a top-eight finish at the NCAA Championships since 2010, accomplishing the feat in the 100 breaststroke. She was also an Honorable Mention All-American in the 200 breast after previously earning Honorable Mention All-America accolades at NCAAs in 2011 and 2012. The North Barrington, Ill., native qualified for the U.S. Olympic Team Trials this summer in Omaha.
“Emily is a remarkable young lady who has shown tremendous resilience during her time as a Boilermaker,” Purdue head coach John Klinge said. “The success she enjoyed after overcoming the injuries and adversity that she endured speaks to the attitude and work ethic she displayed every day while leading our team.”
The first Honda Inspiration Award winner was Marie Roethisberger in 1988 and she will be present at the two-day awards event in L.A., helping the CWSA celebrate its 40th anniversary and representing all the inspiring women over the past 28 years who have won this award. Imani McGee-Stafford of the University of Texas basketball team was the 2015 Honda Inspiration Award winner.