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Jimmy Collins Special Awards

While there are many different categories of awards presented by the Greater New Orleans Sports Awards Committee, some years the committee finds that there are people deserving of recognition who do not necessarily fit into one specific category. For that reason, the Committee presents the Jimmy Collins Special Awards to outstanding individuals and organizations. Collins was a leader of the local Veterans of Foreign Wars post and a hard-working community contributor, who is credited with creating the Greater New Orleans Sports Awards and forming the awards committee in 1958.

2021 Dr. Greg Stewart Tulane University
2020  Demario Davis  New Orleans Saints
 Eastbank Little League  Little League
 2019  Conner Killian  Louisiana Tech
 Joe Scheuermann  Delgado Baseball
 2018  Joe Este  Bonnabel High School
 Brittany Grunberg  50 Legs Foundation
 2017  Miracle League of New Orleans  New Orleans
 2016  Princeton Carter  Isidore Newman School
 Gabrielle Jennings  First Baptist Christian School
 2015  Manny Barocco  Jefferson Parish Athletics
 Jim Ravannack  Louisiana wrestling
 2014  Rob Bernardi  Nicholls State Athletics
 Paul Hoolahan  Allstate Sugar Bowl
 Ragin’ Cajun Athletics  UL-Lafayette
 Mark Slessinger  UNO Basketball
 2013  Team Gleason  Team Gleason
 Robin and Sally-Anne Roberts  New Orleans
 2012  J.T. Curtis  John Curtis School
 Bo McCalebb  O.P. Walker HS/UNO Basketball
 2011  Tyler Dutruch  Pope John Paul II
 Lurlyn Fitzpatrick  Tulane University
 2010  Sandra Bullock  Warren Easton HS
 Kelly Gibson  New Orleans golf
 New Orleans Boosters  AAABA Baseball
 Harold Shelly  New Orleans
 2009  Jim Headrick  First Tee of New Orleans
 2008  Dolphin Baseball  Delgado Community College
 Privateer Baseball  UNO
2004 Churchill Downs Fair Grounds Race Course
2003 Mewelde Moore Tulane Football
LSU Football Team SEC & BCS
Southern University Football SWAC & NCAA
 2002  George Shinn & Ray Woolridge  New Orleans Hornets
 2001  Super Bowl XXXVI Host Committee
 Tommy Henry  LHSAA
2000  Randy Mueller  New Orleans Saints
1999  Brother Martin Wrestling  LHSAA
 New Orleans Times-Picayune
 1990  Alvin Gauthier  Cohen High School basketball
 New Orleans Sports Foundation
 1988  Risen Star  Horse Racing
 1986  Louis “Red” Slade  New Orleans
 1985  Tom Benson  New Orleans Saints
 Lou Messina
 1984  Carl Maddox  National Sports Festival
 1983  Joe Delaney  Kansas City Chiefs
 Dave Dixon  New Orleans/Superdome
 1981  Firmin E. Simms  NORD/Biddy Basketball
 Brother Melchior Polowy  Holy Cross Wrestling
 1980  Brother Martin Hernandez
 1979  Joseph Dorignac, Jr.  Fairgrounds Racing
 B.E. Lumzy  Carter Woodson Junior High
 Ben Weiner  Tulane University
 1978  Commercial Athletic Association
 Joe’s Jungle Marching Club
 Sports Acrobatic School
1975  Art Burke  New Orleans States-Item
1974  Jim Hall  Louisiana Weekly
1973  John North  New Orleans Saints
1972  Herbert J. Hauck  Amateur Golf
1971  Dave Dixon  Superdome
1970  Lester Lautenschlaeger  New Orleans Recreation Dept.
 Hoss Memtsas  West Jefferson Football
1969  Doug Atkins  New Orleans Saints
 Jack Van Berg  Thoroughbred Horse Racing
1968  John Letellier  Fairgrounds Racing
1967  John W. Mecom, Jr.  New Orleans Saints
1966  Dave Dixon  New Orleans Pro Football
1965  Jim Corbett  LSU
1964  William H. Bishop  Thoroughbred Horse Racing
1963  Jackie Higgins  New Orleans

The year 2020 will be remembered world-wide for COVID-19 – especially for the things that were lost and/or canceled due to the global pandemic. However, against the odds, many events did happen in 2020, including the Tulane football season, LHSAA sporting events and the annual New Orleans Bowl and Allstate Sugar Bowl. Those events were essential to the region both for financial reasons and for emotional reasons. Dr. Gregory Stewart, from the Tulane University Center for Sport and the Tulane Institute of Sports Medicine, was a key behind-the-scenes figure who ensured that all of those events could go on as his expertise in developing safe and effective protocols allowed a major part of the New Orleans sports scene to continue. For that reason, the Sports Award Committee is presenting him with a well-deserved Jimmy Collins Award.

Dr. Stewart has established himself as a national leader in the sports medicine field. However, in 2020 with the COVID-19 pandemic, his role became even more pivotal for local sports groups. He quickly established protocols for Tulane University athletics and was selected to serve as the chairman for the American Athletic Conference’s COVID-19 Medical Advisory Group.

With Stewart’s protocols in place, Tulane was one of just 15 FBS teams to play 12 or more games in 2020 (no games were canceled and team activities were never paused during the season).

“It was incredibly challenging,” Stewart said. “It changed every day. We worked with the information we had and did what made the most sense at the time. But every day, new information became available so we used that information to adjust and improve on a daily basis.”

As he also serves as the event doctor for the Allstate Sugar Bowl on an annual basis, the Bowl’s CEO Jeff Hundley quickly enlisted Stewart to develop the COVID game-plan for the Sugar Bowl – this was a pivotal year as it was also a College Playoff Semifinal game.

“We have a tremendous asset right here locally with Dr. Stewart,” Hundley said. “He is one of the best in the world as far as sports medicine and this year, with him overseeing the Sugar Bowl’s COVID plan, we gained instant credibility with the CFP and participating teams as his reputation ensured top-of-the-line standards for safety during the week of the game. Most importantly, the Sugar Bowl did not have any COVID-related issues for the week of the game.”

“It was incredibly rewarding every time we successfully held an event,” Stewart said. “I always tell people that in my job, you don’t want to see me, you don’t want to know I’m there. If nobody is aware of my presence, then I’ve done a heckuva job. With the worldwide challenges of COVID, I guess it was harder for me to stay completely behind the scenes. But it is an honor to be recognized for the work our entire team did under very difficult circumstances.”

Dr. Stewart is the co-director and co-founder of the Center for Sport. He currently spends most of his time working with former professional athletes. As Medical Director of the Professional Athlete Care Team at Tulane University, he leads the NFL Benefits Neurological Care Program, NFL Player Care Foundation Healthy Body and Mind Screening Program, and the Trust (powered by the NFLPA) Brain and Body program. His newest project is leading the Tulane University Center for Brain Health which specializes in caring for military veterans of any discharge status.

He has served as Tulane’s Team Physician since 1987 and was inducted into the Tulane Athletics Hall of Fame in 2019. He also serves as the Director of the Tulane Athletics Sports Medicine Program and the sports concussion management program. In addition, Stewart has been nationally recognized as an expert in non-operative treatment of musculoskeletal disorders in adults. He also specializes in disability prevention, rehabilitative medicine, sports medicine, and has a particular interest in sports concussion.

“It’s exciting to be recognized by the New Orleans Sports Awards Committee,” Stewart said. “I came to this city in 1986 and it turned out that New Orleans is the right place for me. This is where I’m supposed to be.”

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