Vollmer, 29, was drafted by the Patriots in the second round of the 2009 NFL draft out of Houston. Born in Germany, Vollmer began playing football at the age of 14 for the Duesseldorf Club team called the Duesseldorf Panther. That led to him playing for the national team and the European All-Star team that participated in the Global Junior Championships in San Diego, where he was recruited to the University of Houston. Vollmer enrolled at Houston and not only needed to learn football, but he needed to learn to speak English. After beginning his college career as a 250-pound tight end, he grew into a first-team All-Conference USA left tackle as a senior.
Vollmer has battled back injuries and a foot injury over the past few seasons. He started the first eight games of the season at right tackle, before being placed on injured reserve. He started 17 of 18 games, including the playoffs in 2012 and all 16 games in 2010, when he earned Associated Press All-Pro second-team honors.
The Ed Block Courage Award is named after Ed Block, a long-time head trainer for the Baltimore Colts and a respected humanitarian dedicated to helping children. Recipients are often players who have overcome devastating injuries or tragedies in their personal lives to return to top-level competition in the NFL.
Officially formulated in 1986, the Ed Block Courage Award Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization that is sanctioned by the NFL and the Professional Football Athletic Trainers Society (PFATS). The Foundation is committed to heightening awareness of the plight of abused children in cities throughout the league. Proceeds from the annual Courage Awards event benefit the Foundation’s Courage House National Support Network For Kids.