Injuries are part of football but, in general, a healthy season has always been one of the keys to winning the Heisman Trophy.
Nonetheless, some players took home the trophy despite missing games.
Here is a breakdown of those players who missed at last one full game and still won the Heisman.
Charlie Ward, 1993 – The last Heisman winner to miss a contest, he sat out Florida State’s ninth game against Maryland after injuring his ribs in the eighth game against Wake Forest. He came back the following week in FSU’s loss to Notre Dame. Despite missing the one game, he still threw for 3,032 yards and 27 touchdowns with just four interceptions that season and went on to win the Heisman in a landslide over Heath Shuler of Tennessee.
Vinny Testaverde, 1986 – The Miami quarterback missed his team’s final regular season game against East Carolina after falling off his motor scooter on the way home from a team meeting. He suffered some scrapes and bruises but was held out as a precaution. Missing the game had no effect on Testaverde’s Heisman hopes as he defeated Paul Palmer of Temple in a lopsided vote.
Charles White, 1979 – White nursed a shoulder injury that caused him to miss the entire second half of USC’s season-opener against Texas Tech and the entire second game of the season against Oregon State. Nonetheless, he went on to rush for 1,803 yards, averaging 201 yards per game over the final eight games of the season, and won the Heisman easily over returning winner Billy Sims of Oklahoma.
John David Crow, 1957 – Crow hurt his knee late in the first half of the season opener against Maryland and then missed A&M’s next game against Texas Tech. He managed just three plays the next week against Missouri before again leaving the game. Technically, he missed just one game, but in reality it was more like two-and-a-half. Still, he won the Heisman comfortably over Alex Karras of Iowa.
Angelo Bertelli, 1943 – Bertelli played in the first six games of the 1943 season and led the Irish to an undefeated start before Uncle Sam called. Bertelli was off to the Marine Corps and eventually fought in the Battle of Iwo Jima. The six games was more than enough for Heisman voters, who overwhelmingly chose Bertelli over Bob Odell of Penn. The four games missed by Bertelli remains the most games missed by a Heisman winner.