MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A Minnesota survivor of a deadly bus crash won a huge prize during Saturday night’s Big Ten Championship football game.
Sawyer Stevens earned a $100,000 scholarship during halftime after winning the Dr. Pepper 30-second showdown. He beat out his opponent by throwing more footballs into a giant pop can.
WCCO’s Kate Raddatz shares how Sawyer plans to use the scholarship to help others nearly 10 years after a life-changing accident.
Walking out onto the field at Lucas Oil Stadium Saturday night, Sawyer Stevens was ready to put his athletic ability to the test for a shot at $100,000.
“The first half of the game was real stressful, not gonna lie. I thought I hid it pretty well but internally I was pretty stressed,” Stevens said.
It’s a moment that would have seemed physically impossible nine years ago, when doctors weren’t sure if Sawyer would even walk again. He was severely injured in a tragic bus accident in southwestern Minnesota
Four children, including Sawyer’s older brother, Reed, died.
“Obviously when you lose a sibling that’s something that stays with you,” Stevens said.
In his submission video for the Dr. Pepper Tuition Giveaway, Sawyer talked about the impact doctors had on recovery. He learned to walk again, went on to play football and graduated high school as valedictorian.
“I want to help others in the same way that doctors helped me in my time of need,” Stevens said.
The video and heartfelt message ultimately brought him here, throwing footballs into a giant pop can while the nation watched on TV. He sunk 15 footballs, scoring the scholarship.
He plans to use the money to attend medical school after he graduates from college. Making his family, doctors and the people who’ve supported him on his journey proud.
In addition to going to school full-time, Sawyer is also a fitness trainer and training to become an EMT. He has finals coming up, and then he said he does plan to relax a little and celebrate the big win.