High School Football Player, Who Died While Shielding Girls From Gunfire, Becomes Youngest Arthur Ashe Courage Award Recipient
KNOXVILLE, Tennessee - Zaevion Dobson, a fifteen-year-old sophomore at Fulton High School in Knoxville, Tennessee, who died on December 17 while protecting his friends from a shooting, will be honored at this year’s ESPYS with the Arthur Ashe Courage Award.
"There's nothing more courageous than somebody sacrificing their own life for somebody else," said ESPYS executive producer Maura Mandt via ESPN.
Dobson will be the youngest person to win the award since its creation in 1993. The honor is awarded to individuals who demonstrate a commitment to social or humanitarian concerns off the playing field.
Following Dobson’s death, President Barack Obama tweeted, “Zaevion Dobson died saving three friends from getting shot. He was a hero at 15. What's our excuse for not acting?” In January, Obama mentioned Dobson’s heroism again while speaking on gun violence.
Zenobia Dobson, Zaevion’s mother, will accept the award on his behalf during the ESPYS ceremony on July 13.
"He would light up the room," Zenobia stated via ESPN. "He was just so sweet. He had a warm spirit. His spirit was awesome, amazing. He was an amazing son. He was so sweet. He would always compliment me. He would always compliment his friends."
Previous Arthur Ashe Courage Award recipients include Jim Valvano (1993), Muhammad Ali (1997), Dean Smith (1998), Nelson Mandela (2009), Pat Summitt (2012) and Caitlyn Jenner (2015).