WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- It was a long and difficult journey but Purdue swimmer Emily Fogle made it back to the NCAA Championships this season. She has been selected as a 2015 recipient of the prestigious N4A Wilma Rudolph Student-Athlete Achievement Award by the National Association of Academic Advisors for Athletics.
The N4A Wilma Rudolph Student-Athlete Achievement Award recognizes those that have overcome great personal, academic and/or emotional odds to achieve academic success while participating in intercollegiate athletics. Fogle was recently granted a medical hardship waiver by the NCAA and a sixth year of eligibility. But before closing out her collegiate career and beginning her master's degree program during the 2015-16 school year, she will be honored at the N4A National Convention Awards Luncheon in Orlando, Florida, on June 13.
Fogle joins wrestlers Cashé Quiroga (2014) and Akif Eren (2011) as well as football player John Reeves (1998) and golfer Kevin Hough (1993) as Boilermakers to receive the N4A Wilma Rudolph Student-Athlete Achievement Award. She graduated this month with a bachelor's degree in movement and sports science from the college of health and human sciences.
Fogle is Purdue's varsity record holder in three individual events (100 and 200 breaststroke; 200 individual medley) and both medley relays. She broke her first program record (200 breast) in the fall of her freshman season at the 2010 Purdue Invitational. She would go on to qualify for the NCAA Championships in each of her underclassman seasons. At the 2012 NCAA Championships in Auburn, Alabama, she won the consolation final of the 200 breast, establishing a new Purdue-record time for the fifth time in the event. The Chicagoland native continues to be the only Boilermaker to ever swim a sub-one minute time in the 100 breaststroke.
By the end of her sophomore season, Fogle was already a three-time All-American. She competed in the U.S. Olympic Team Trials in the summer of 2012 and her 28th-place finish in the 100 breast was the Boilermakers' top individual showing of the prestigious national meet. But in November of that year as she was preparing for the first big college meet of her junior season, she learned she needed arthroscopic surgery on the labrum in her hip. It turned out to be the first of three surgical procedures she would undergo on her hips.
When she was finally able to compete again in the summer of 2014, Fogle had not only recovered from the multiple surgeries but also overcome Anorexia Nervosa and a case of depression that was exponentially intensified by the unexpected passing of her mother on April 16, 2013.
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"It was right in the midst of my recovery from my hip," Fogle said in an interview with Rick Houston for a feature story at NCAA.com. "Not that there would be a good timing for that, but that would probably be the worst. I lost my sport, I lost my identity and I lost my mom. The amount of grief and hopelessness was indescribable. I honestly didn't know what to do. It was an extremely difficult time."
"By the summer of 2013, I needed advanced professional help for my depression and eating disorder," Fogle says. "I left Purdue for admittance into an inpatient treatment center in Phoenix, where I fought to regain myself for over a month. After my stay in the hospital, I returned to Purdue where I found myself continuing to struggle. I realized I had been masking my grieving process of my mom with the intensified eating disorder.
"I was reluctant to leave, but eventually decided I needed further medical help and went to live with my dad in Kansas City, Missouri. Without knowledge on when I would return, I found myself becoming more and more open to the grieving process. There, I was able to go to an intensive outpatient clinic from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day, but still had the opportunity to spend much-needed time with my father."
During her time in Kansas City, Fogle took advantage of an opportunity to enroll as a part-time student at Purdue by taking online courses. She credits the athletics department's academic services staff as well as the women's swimming and diving coaching staff for their continued assistance, ensuring she was able to resume her studies when she was ready.
"It was because of these hardships that I was able to discover who I was as a person, and what I wanted my future to look like after swimming," Fogle says. "I have found a passion for pursuing the career of social work. I plan to continue my education at the graduate school level to obtain my master's in clinical social work. Already I have found opportunities at Purdue to use my skills in these areas. I am now involved in Purdue's student health advocate organization, in which I lead the healthy eating/disordered eating group to tackle issues all over campus."
Fogle's return to competition helped Purdue's experienced team enjoy a successful 2014-15 season. She swept the breaststroke events at the Ohio State Invitational in November, helping the Boilers win a multi-team invitational meet on the road for the first time since November 2004. At the Big Ten Championships in February, she qualified for the championship A finals of both breaststroke events and swam on both medley relays. The 200 medley relay team eclipsed the program record that Fogle had helped set in 2012. But it was returning to the national stage in the breaststroke events of the NCAA Championships for the third time in her career that punctuated the comeback campaign.
"Overall, my time at Purdue has been full of ups and downs. I know for certain that if it were not for the staff and faculty at this university, I would not have made it through the downs, or have had the opportunity to enjoy the ups," Fogle says. "I am extremely excited for my future. I plan to repay those who have helped me by helping others."
About the N4A Wilma Rudolph Student-Athlete Achievement Award: The N4A Wilma Rudolph Student-Athlete Achievement Award is intended to honor student-athletes who have overcome great personal, academic, and/or emotional odds to achieve academic success while participating in intercollegiate athletics. These young men and women may not be the best athletes or students, and therefore may not have been recognized by other organizations or awards. Nonetheless, they have persevered and made significant personal strides toward success. These are the students who benefit most from academic athletic advisement programs and represent our motivation and sense of satisfaction. We recognize them for their achievements with the N4A Wilma Rudolph Student-Athlete Achievement Award. The common thread for all the recipients of this award is motivation or drive to succeed and the work ethic that overcomes difficult situations. To read the Wilma Glodean Rudolph story, please click HERE.
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