2021 Socrates Award Grants Announced

Three Inspiring Tetraplegics Awarded Lifetime Grants from Brennan Rehabilitation Foundation

The Socrates Award recognizes individuals who have overcome disability with annual grant

Media Contact:
Christopher Brennan
Brennan Rehabilitation Foundation

CHICAGO – February 9, 2022 – Every year in the U.S., an estimated 17,000 people survive a spinal cord injury. While treatment and follow-up care varies according to the severity of the injury, medical expenses can easily exceed $500,000 in the first year alone.

These staggering costs have inspired the Brennan Rehabilitation Foundation to create the Socrates Award, a lifetime cash grant to provide tetraplegics, individuals with paralysis caused by illness or injury that results in the partial or total loss of use of all four limbs and torso, with economic resources for therapy, equipment, prescriptions, and in-home care.

This year, three recipients have been selected to receive the Socrates Award for their efforts in working to achieve personal success while pursuing the daily grind of physical rehabilitation and recovery:

  • William Bloodsworth (Charleston, SC) served as a Major in the U.S. Army. After arriving home he suffered a horrific car accident which further damaged an already weak neck from years of military service. Surviving the crash, William was left a C3 complete Tetraplegic. He is waging the biggest battle of his life as he fights to recover the use of his fingers, hands and arms. Given his drive and determination, continued over achievement is in the cards for William.
  • Alex Nawaz (Palm City, FL) suffered a fall while carrying books to her car as a co-ed in college. Unfortunately, the fall caused severe trauma to her neck and an eventual vertebral artery occlusion, which damaged her spinal cord at the C4 level and below, leaving Alex as an incomplete Tetraplegic. Currently, Alex is working hard on recovering movement in all four limbs and has decided to head back to school. Recently, she has enrolled in Florida Atlantic University, pursuing a degree in Biology, an interest she gained from her injury.
  • Amber Bruce (Atlanta, GA) one day experienced low blood pressure and fainted. While falling she hit her head damaging her spinal cord at the C6 level. The unfortunate event left Amber an incomplete Tetraplegic. As a competitive business woman she has worked in advertising, at Coca-Cola and ESPN Game Day. She is determined to find any opportunity that may help in her recovery. Amber now has control over her arms and has made important strides, turning her injury into a reason to thrive. She is back working for Coca-Cola and their lucky to have her back.   

Since 2018, the Brennan Rehabilitation Foundation annually recognizes the accomplishments of individual tetraplegics through the Socrates award. The award was originally created by Christopher Brennan, Chairman of the Foundation, during his tenure in sports media, and his late father, Terry Brennan, a former head football coach at the University of Notre Dame, to honor collegiate athletes who achieved a combination of athletic and academic success. The award embodies the mantra of the Socrates creed, generally derived from the Latin phrase “mens sana in corpore sano” which translates to “Healthy Mind in a Healthy Body.”

“After personally suffering a spinal cord injury, the Socrates creed took on a profound meaning for me,” says Christopher Brennan. “I am honored to award these individuals who recognize that like a sport, life itself is full of incredible highs and frustrating lows, and that the daily pursuit of ‘a healthy mind’ and ‘a healthy body’ in the face of adversity is the true testament of one’s character.”

This year, the Socrates Award recipients will each receive a $1,000 grant and the Foundation anticipates that number to continue to grow in tandem with the organization’s fundraising efforts and events. The honorees, as well as past awardees, will be recognized at the Annual Board and Advisory Board meeting on February 20, 2022 at Michigan Shores Club pending COVID-19 restrictions.  


The Brennan Rehabilitation Foundation The Brennan Rehabilitation Foundation is a 501c3 charitable foundation located in Lake Forest, Illinois. The Foundation is committed to helping individuals, who have suffered cervical spinal injuries causing physical and cognitive disabilities, and their families and communities, by providing financial resources to help ensure a continuum of rehabilitation resources and provide opportunities for individuals to ultimately reach optimal health and independence. Please visit www.brennanrehabfoundation.org to learn more about donation opportunities and future fundraising events.