McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

January 8, 2013

Shinn at 3 p.m.: Woods finalist for Rare Disease Champion Award

By John Shinn
The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — Oklahoma offensive lineman Austin Woods was named one of seven national finalists for the 2013 Rare Disease Champion Award. The prize is awarded by the Uplifting Athletes organization.

The Rare Disease Champion Award is given to a leader in college football, individual or organization, who has realized his or her potential to make a positive and lasting impact.

Woods, a junior, earned academic All-Big 12 First Team honors for the second consecutive season in 2012 and served as the Sooners’ deep snapper on placements for the third straight  season.

It was remarkable accomplishment, considering Woods was diagnosed with stage 3 Hodgkins lymphoma in May and underwent chemotherapy treatments for four months.

Despite the diagnosis, Woods did not miss any games due to his condition. He underwent his final chemotherapy session on Oct. 1, and on Nov. 1, he was informed that his cancer was in remission.

Uplifting Athletes is a nonprofit organization aligning college football with rare diseases and raising awareness through research, education and advocacy.

Online voting is for the Rare Disease Champion Award is currently underway at www.upliftingathletes.org/rare-disease-champion/vote. The voting will continue through Jan. 31, with the winner being announced on Feb. 1.