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Zaevion Dobson will receive Arthur Ashe Courage Award at 2016 ESPYS

The 15-year-old high school football star gave his life to save two girls

In December 2015, Zaevion Dobson made a brave decision. He had the option of moving to safety and protecting his own body from gunfire, but chose instead to run toward the bullets. He made a split-second decision to sacrifice his life for the lives of two girls who were in the line of fire.

Zaevion’s act of selflessness will be honored by ESPN on Wednesday, which announced on June 21 that he would posthumously receive the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the 2016 ESPYS. Zaevion’s mother, Zenobia Dobson, will accept the award on his behalf, and she will be joined on the stage by his brothers, Zack Dobson and Markastin Taylor.

Zaevion, a football star at Fulton High School in Knoxville, Tennessee, was a 15-year-old sophomore. His peers and people who knew him had high hopes for him, as he was considered an all-around fantastic person and player in the community.

“The family of Zaevion William Dobson accepts with great appreciation the honorable Arthur Ashe Award on behalf of our beloved young man of valor, who sacrificed himself to save others,” Zenobia Dobson said in an ESPN press release. “We feel truly blessed and honored that our Zaevion joins the ranks of honorees. Like Arthur Ashe, Zaevion faced obstacles, but he overcame them. With this award, we know that Zaevion’s name and example will never be forgotten.”

The award is presented each year to individuals whose contributions transcend sports and recognizes those individuals who embody the spirit of the honor’s namesake, the late tennis legend Arthur Ashe, who dedicated his life to human rights advocacy.

During a speech in January, President Barack Obama spoke about Zaevion and how he “gave his life to save [the two girls] — an act of heroism a lot bigger than anything we should ever expect from a 15-year-old.” A special tribute to Zaevion was also played before Super Bowl 50.

“Zaevion’s actions to risk his own life for others demonstrate the true meaning of the word courage, and his boundless bravery has inspired many,” said ESPYS executive producer Maura Mandt in ESPN’s press release. “By celebrating Zaevion’s legacy, we hope to bring more attention to this serious issue and continued focus on the tragic loss of lives to gun violence.”

Information from Jay Jay Nesheim’s ESPN press release was used in this article.

Rhiannon Walker is an associate editor at The Undefeated. She is a drinker of Sassy Cow Creamery chocolate milk, an owner of an extensive Disney VHS collection, and she might have a heart attack if Frank Ocean doesn't drop his second album.