Member of team gets sweet, deserved award
A disabled graduate assistant who produces scouting reports for the UH Warriors is headed for the Sugar Bowl.
Just as there's no "I" in team, there is no University of Hawaii Warrior organization without behind-the-scenes assistants like Brian Kajiyama. And just as the Warriors will make their first trip to a prestigious Bowl Championship Series game, so will Kajiyama make his first journey to a UH away game.
Kajiyama, a graduate assistant who has worked with the team since last spring, is headed for New Orleans as UH takes its full complement of players and staff to the Sugar Bowl.
The Ph.D. candidate, studying special education, puts together scouting reports for the defensive crew and edits coaching videos, working from a wheelchair on his computers and other equipment. He usually doesn't travel with the Warriors to mainland competitions because when players are taking the field for one game, he's already doing work on the next opponent.
But the Warriors will be in the Big Easy a week before the Sugar Bowl and will need Kajiyama, who has cerebral palsy, to assemble information that time-pressed coaches would otherwise have to do themselves.
Moreover, defensive line coach Jeff Reinebold said, team leaders want to recognize everyone who has had a hand in the Warriors' success. "He contributed to this 12-0 season," Reinebold told the Star-Bulletin's Robert Shikina.
Kajiyama, nominated for an award for the person in college football who displays courage on or off the field, acknowledges there are physical and logistic limitations due to his disorder, but he seems to take them in stride, noting that "being part of a team requires sacrificing personal wants for the greater good."
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