JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jacksonville Jaguars have nominated Strength and Conditioning Associate Sean Karpf for the NFL's Salute to Service Award, the club announced today. The Salute to Service Award presented by USAA recognizes NFL players, coaches, personnel and alumni who demonstrate an exemplary commitment to honoring and supporting the military community. Finalists are scheduled to be announced in January, and the recipient will be recognized at NFL Honors, a primetime awards special to air nationally the week of Super Bowl LV.
Prior to joining the Jacksonville Jaguars staff, Sean Karpf served in the United States Army from 2007-13, where he was a sergeant and squad leader for the 82nd Airborne Division. While serving in Afghanistan, Karpf lost his lower left leg after stepping on a pressure plate in 2012 on a mission. He continued to lead his squad despite consistent machine gun fire from Taliban insurgents, prior to being evacuated via helicopter. He would go on to spend more than a year at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center rehabbing his injuries, while undergoing more than 20 surgeries. For his bravery and service in defending our country, Karpf was awarded a Purple Heart.
A Jacksonville native, Karpf began his journey with the Jaguars as an intern through the Wounded Warrior Project. The program allowed him to take college courses and complete an internship in the local community. Throughout his internship, Karpf impressed both players and coaches with his positive attitude and incredible work ethic.
As his internship came to an end, Karpf wanted to leave behind something that would show the players how much his time with the team meant to him. Among the personal gifts he delivered, one that stood out was providing then-LB Paul Posluszny with one of the extra Purple Heart medals he purchased after he was awarded the medal on June 10, 2013. Posluszny was so moved, he gave Karpf a gift of his own: a signed jersey and a personal letter.
"I knew a person like that [understood] it," Karpf said. "They understand the Salute to Service [campaign executed by the NFL] isn't just another thing that, 'We're going to wear a different shirt. We're going to wear this because it's this theme.' There are guys in that locker room that get it, that Salute to Service means a lot to veterans, that the NFL shows their support for us."
Posluszny's gift was not the only surprise that Karpf would receive that day. As Karpf was saying his goodbyes to his coworkers, General Manager Dave Caldwell asked him to come down to his office to speak with former Executive Vice President of Football Operations Tom Coughlin who asked Karpf to stay on as a full-time employee on the team's strength staff. "I still remember that moment," Karpf said. "Every detail. I came to clean out my locker and here I was getting told, 'No, go put your stuff back in your locker."
When asked about his current role Karpf said, "Being in the military, you feel like you're part of a team, working together. This is the next-best thing. It feels like – working for success, trying to win games."
Karpf continues to participate in team initiatives that support our local military community. Last year during the Salute to Service campaign, he was one of the volunteers who helped put together more than 1,000 care packages for our troops deployed overseas. He also continues to volunteer with Wounded Warrior Project, knowing firsthand how their work can change lives, just like it did for him.
As the presenting sponsor of the Salute to Service Award, USAA, a leading provider of insurance and other financial services to U.S. military members, veterans and their families, will contribute $25,000 in the recipient's name to the official aid societies representing all five military branches. The NFL will match USAA's contribution of $25,000, which will be donated to the award recipient's military charity of choice.