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Bryan Cook

News Channel Nebraska sports broadcaster Bryan Cook received the NSAA's Distinguished Service Award Saturday at Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln.

It was just over a year ago when News Channel Nebraska Sportscaster Bryan Cook was forced to miss one of his favorite sporting events of the year.

A stroke nearly took his life and he was forced to lay in a hospital bed during the NSAA State Basketball Championships.

One year later, on Saturday night, Bryan Cook was able to stand at mid court of Pinnacle Bank Arena to receive the Nebraska School Activities Association Distinguished Service Award.

Cook couldn't use the word "overwhelming" enough to describe how honored he was to receive the award.

"It means the world to me," Cook said. "It's an honor. Us in the media have the same goal of representing the community, the kids and the high schools we cover and I can think of thousands of others that are deserving of this award."

The award is designed to honor persons whose contributions in an over-all capacity of service to the NSAAA, for long service in a variety of NSAA acitivities, or for contributions which impacted the NSAA as a whole.

Cook has been a broadcaster for 26 years, including 19 in Beatrice. He has received 15 Nebraska Associated Press Awards.

Cook said he was contacted by the NSAA a few weeks ago asking if he'd come up Saturday night to during the Class A Girls State Final to receive an award. He didn't know what that award was going to be.

"I was really hoping it wasn't a sympathy thing for the stroke," Cook said. "I'm glad it was an award for the things I've done in my broadcasting career and it's just overwhelming to know that your peers have been watching and appreciate what you've done and accomplished."

Cook was happy to be back court side of the NSAA State Girls Basketball Championships. He covered the Beatrice girls at the Devaney Center on Thursday night and at Pinnacle Bank Arena on Friday afternoon.

"Last year, I felt like I let people down because I wasn't able to be there," Cook said. "I felt like I let the coaches and teams down, so I was ecstatic to be back with my media family and doing what I love to do at the state tournament."

When he received his award on Saturday, Cook was using a cane to walk, but says he continues to improve every day.

"I'm walking more and more without a cane," Cook said. "I have to use it outside in the wind and I still have some balancing issues. But my walking and talking are much better -- you hear me on the radio, I can't shut up now. I'm taking it a day at a time and I will eventually get back to where I was. I hope to be running 50-yard dashes soon."

With no local boys teams making the state tournament, Cook plans to cover Spring Nationals this weekend at Beatrice Speedway. Cook says he's learned to appreciate life each and every day now.

"I'm lucky to be alive and now to get this award on top of that is just such an honor," Cook said. "The support from the community, coaches, the teams and my media family is what got me back to where I'm at now. I really wanted to get back to what I was doing, because we have the greatest jobs in the world."

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