The Inspiration Award, presented by the NCAA, has been awarded to the Massachusetts man who has become the face of ALS.
The annual honor is presented to a current or former coach or varsity athlete who’s faced with a life-altering situation, yet perseveres, inspires, and serves as a role model.
Pete Frates, who was captain of the baseball team at Boston College, was diagnosed with ALS at the age of 27 in 2012.
“This is one of the best accolades we’ve ever received including his number being retired,” said his father, John Frates.
In 2014, Pete was the leader of the Ice Bucket Challenge, which became a worldwide phenomenon and led to more than $220 million being raised for ALS research.
“He inspires us every day,” said current BC baseball captain, Bobby Skogsbergh. “You talk about the Jesuit mission at BC, it’s men and women for others, and I can’t think of somebody who embodies that more than Pete Frates. He was dealt a bad hand and look at how he’s handled it. He’s the most selfless person I know.”
Pete couldn't make the actual awards ceremony in Tennessee, so his mom asked if there was any way the NCAA could come to their home in Beverly.
“I’m a mother and I just said well I’m going to ask,” said Nancy Frates. “So I wrote a letter and said, 'is there any way you think maybe you can give it to Pete because he really deserves it in person,' and they got right back to me and said 'yup, we’ll make that happen,'”.
The president of the NCAA flew to Massachusetts on Tuesday to present the award at Frates’s home.
“There’s very few people that have touched the lives Pete has,” said NCAA President Mark Emmert. “It’s a stunning success.”