NEW ORLEANS – Dr. Greg Stewart, a sports medicine professional with the Tulane Institute of Sports Medicine who was a leader in keeping sports on track throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, has been selected to receive a Jimmy Collins Award from the Greater New Orleans Sports Awards Committee, sponsored by the Allstate Sugar Bowl. The Committee selects annual award winners in a variety of categories; it also selects Amateur Athletes of the Month and each year’s Hall of Fame class. Overall, 23 individuals and two teams will be honored at the 2020-21 Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame Awards Banquet on July 24. Honorees are being announced over a period of 23 days, wrapping up with the Corbett Awards for the top male and female amateur athletes in the state on July 20 and 21.
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.Jeff Hundley, Allstate Sugar Bowl CEO
Jimmy Collins Special Awards: Dr. Greg Stewart, Tulane Institute of Sports Medicine
Outstanding Boys' Prep Coach of the Year, New Orleans: June 29 (Tuesday)
Outstanding Girls' Prep Coach of the Year, New Orleans: June 30 (Wednesday)
Outstanding Female Amateur Athlete, New Orleans: July 1 (Thursday)
Outstanding Male Amateur Athlete, New Orleans: July 2 (Friday)
Eddie Robinson Award: July 5 (Monday)
Outstanding Boys’ Prep Team, New Orleans: July 6 (Tuesday)
Outstanding Girls’ Prep Team, New Orleans: July 7 (Wednesday)
Outstanding Collegiate Coach, Louisiana: July 8 (Thursday)
Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2020 Inductee: July 9 (Friday)
Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2020 Inductee: July 12 (Monday)
Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2020 Inductee: July 13 (Tuesday)
Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2020 Inductee: July 14 (Wednesday)
Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2020 Inductee: July 15 (Thursday)
Corbett Award – Female: July 20 (Tuesday)
Corbett Award – Male: July 21 (Wednesday)
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 Awards to outstanding individuals and organizations.
Collins was a longtime New Orleans sportswriter who is credited with creating the Greater New Orleans Sports Awards and forming the awards committee in 1958.
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.”
The Greater New Orleans Sports Awards Committee began in 1957 when Collins spearheaded a group of sports journalists to form a sports awards committee to immortalize local sports history. For 13 years, the committee honored local athletes each month. In 1970, the Sugar Bowl stepped in to sponsor and revitalize the committee, leading to the creation of the Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame in 1971, honoring 10 legends from the Crescent City in its first induction class. While adding the responsibility of selecting Hall of Famers, the committee has continued to recognize the top amateur athlete in the Greater New Orleans area each month - the honors enter their 65th year in 2021. To be eligible, an athlete must be a native of the greater New Orleans area or must compete for a team in the metropolitan region.
The Allstate Sugar Bowl has established itself as one of the premier college football bowl games, having hosted 28 national champions, 99 Hall of Fame players, 51 Hall of Fame coaches and 19 Heisman Trophy winners in its 87-year history. The 88th Allstate Sugar Bowl Football Classic, which will feature top teams from the Big 12 and the SEC, is scheduled to be played on January 1, 2022. In addition to football, the Sugar Bowl Committee annually invests over $1 million into the community through the hosting and sponsorship of sporting events, awards, scholarships and clinics. Through these efforts, the organization supports and honors thousands of student-athletes each year, while injecting over $2.7 billion into the local economy in the last decade. For more information, visit www.AllstateSugarBowl.org.
John Sudsbury, Sr. Director of Communications
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