INDIANAPOLIS — Chuck Pagano told Indianapolis Colts fans they can fight through their obstacles the same way he and his team did.
Stick to the process and never waver.
The Colts coach took a brief respite from his predraft studies Thursday to thank the Indianapolis community for its support while he battled leukemia and then gave away the secret to how he recovered so quickly.
"They refused to live in circumstances, they lived in vision," Pagano said, referring to his players. "What got me out of this hospital besides all the love and support from this community and this team and this owner was watching them (the Colts) fight. It's amazing what you can do when you have the proper state of mind. We can, we will, we must, no matter what the odds, no matter what the circumstances, we will get the job done."
Pagano then told the roughly 450 people inside a local ballroom at the Brady Sports Achievement Awards that the philosophy would work in their toughest battles, too.
Last season, Pagano's inspiring comeback story captivated the football world. The Colts used it as a rallying point for their remarkable turnaround and it inspired a nation of football fans to root for a coach that most barely knew until last fall.
But in this room and on this night, Pagano's story fit right in with those of the other four award winners.
—Purdue basketball star Drey Mingo received her award after partially losing her hearing in a life-threatening battle with acute bacterial meningitis in the fall of 2010.
—Noah James, a boys swimmer at Boonville High School in Indiana who was diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome as a child, was honored after battling back from a rare, life-threatening disease, bronchiolitis obliterans, before the 2012 season. He needed a double lung transplant before he could return to the pool.