J.J. Watt to receive honorary doctorate from Baylor for hurricane relief efforts

For a player who barely saw the field in 2017, J.J. Watt is racking up a seemingly unending amount of hardware. 

Watt, who played in only five games this past season, found a way to make an impact in Houston by leading a fundraising campaign in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, raising more $37 million,and helping distribute supplies across the city. In December, Watt was named <em>Sports Illustrated's</em> "Sportsperson of the Year" alongside Astros second baseman Jose Altuve, and he recently took home the NFL's Walter Payton Man of the Year award.  

On Thursday, he was awarded another honor. The Baylor College of Medicine announced that it will give Watt an honorary doctorate (a Doctor of Humanities in Medicine). Houston Emergency Medical Services director Dr. David Persse will also be honored at the ceremony on May 29.

"In the year following the devastation of Hurricane Harvey and the community's incredible response, it was most fitting to honor two community leaders who contributed in major ways, Dr. Persse and J.J. Watt," Baylor College of Medicine president Paul Klotman said in a statement, via ESPN. "Our graduates and their families can take important lessons from these honorary degree recipients."

Watt's initial fundraising goal wasn't even in the million-dollar range. But it just kept growing -- from $1.5 million to $2 million to $5 million to $10 million. Altogether, more than 200,000 donors came together to raise more than $37 million. 

"There are not enough words to thank you all for your generosity. If there is one thing that I have taken away from these last few weeks, it is the reassurance of how much good is out there in our world," Watt wrote at the time. "When times are the toughest, humanity stands at its strongest and you have all helped to prove that emphatically. On Friday, Sept. 15 at 5 p.m. CT, we will complete the fundraising portion of our efforts to dedicate our time to ensuring every dollar is put to work for the people in the devastated areas in and around Houston. There are many places you could have donated your hard-earned money and I'm honored you have chosen to join this effort to support the people who were affected most by Hurricane Harvey. Please keep this spirit of helping one another alive. The world is a better place when we all take care of each other."

In addition to the fundraiser, Watt also helped with the distribution of resources.

The three-time Defensive Player of the Year has appeared in only eight games over the past two seasons. Watt's 2017 season ended in October due to a tibial plateau fracture. He started running again in January and is expected to be ready in time for the 2018 season. 

CBS Sports Writer

Sean Wagner-McGough joined CBS Sports in 2015 after graduating from UC Berkeley. A native of Seattle, Sean now resides in the Bay Area. He spends his spare time defending Jay Cutler on Twitter. Full Bio

Our Latest Stories
    24/7 Scores, News, Highlights
    FREE ON ALL YOUR DEVICES