Running Back Recognized for Courage on and off the Gridiron
After sharing his remarkable story of resilience and healing, Christopher Liggio ’20, who lost both of his parents shortly after his 15th birthday, was named one of the inaugural recipients of the Hartford HealthCare Connecticut Courage Award.
January 14, 2020
By Renee Chmiel, Office of Marketing and Communications
When Christopher Liggio ’20 arrived at the University of New Haven, he rarely spoke about his past. Just days after his 15th birthday, Liggio and his brother and sister learned their parents had died in their mother’s office in an apparent murder-suicide.
Football became more than a passion for the New Jersey native – it became a way for him to find healing. Until recently, most of his teammates and coaches did not know about his past.
"I’ve always felt that people would look at me differently, so I always pushed away the feelings I had about it,” explained Liggio. “That way, I didn’t have to think about it."
"There is no greater fit than Chris Liggio here at the University of New Haven, and there is no greater representation of a student-athlete here."Chris Pincince
Basketball hall-of-famer Rebecca Lobo presented Liggio with a plaque at a recent ceremony on campus. The University also received a $1,000 donation to its general scholarship fund.
“Hartford HealthCare is excited to recognize these two remarkable young student-athletes, who despite setbacks, have overcome challenges to continue to perform their best as both scholars and athletes,” said Jeffrey A. Flaks, president and chief executive officer of Hartford HealthCare. “Our organization’s purpose is to help people live their healthiest lives, and both Taylor’s and Chris’ courageous stories of recovery and perseverance are an inspiration to all.”
Now in his senior year, Liggio has demonstrated leadership, resilience, and a strong work ethic on and off the field. Voted co-captain of the University’s football team at the beginning of the season, he has amassed more than 1,000 rushing yards and five touchdowns over the course of his career.
"I’ve been someone who leads by example," said Liggio, a communication major who hopes to sell commercial real estate. "I let my work ethic speak for itself, because I strive to do everything right. I always try to do my best at whatever it is that I’m doing."
He’s done that – and more, according to Charger football head coach Chris Pincince.
“There is no greater fit than Chris Liggio here at the University of New Haven, and there is no greater representation of a student-athlete here,” Pincince said fighting back tears. “I’m glad he was able to speak up on his family situation in the past couple months...I’m glad to have known him. I certainly love him.”