Georgetown Football Player Paralyzed In Game In 2015 Walks Across Graduation Stage To Receive Diploma

by 1 year ago


For the first time in two and a half years, Georgetown linebacker Ty Williams stood on his own two feet and walked. This feat cannot be undermined, as doctors told him in September 2015 that this day would never come after he broke five bones and vertebrae in his neck while attempting to tackle a receiver in a game against Saint Francis University. The diagnosis was “C6 incomplete”: a fractured vertebra that left partial feeling in his lower body but not the ability to will it to movement, the Washington Post reports.

After rehabbing relentlessly at the MedStar National Rehabilitation Hospital in D.C. and lifting twice a week in order to try to regain some of the strength he lost, the senior’s hard work has proved to be beneficial–as he walked toward Georgetown president Jack DeGioia with the help of a brace and walker to receive his degree in Government.

Last year, Williams was the keynote speaker for his high school, Quince Orchard in Maryland’s Montgomery County. Although he never explicitly mentioned his injury, he spoke about self-motivation and perseverance.

His words were powerful:

“Having a positive mind-set can really change the way you see the world,” he said. “We ourselves have to be our No. 1 motivator. In hard times, when our back is against the wall and we feel like there is no way out, we have to be the first ones to tell ourselves that it’ll be okay and that we must and will overcome. . . . Through surrounding ourselves with positivity, we can breathe new life around us. We can take advantage of everything life has to offer by doing so. Do not allow yourself to be defined by yourself or by others. We are so much more than just one part of ourselves. . . . Constantly adhering your actions to please others will drain you and leave you lost in your own body.

“I hate the word ‘normal.’ It is a word of judgment and helps create the schisms, hate and prejudice we see today that separates our country and this world. There is a deep hatred rooted within this country that stems solely from the inability to accept those that are different. Putting a label on a human being is one of the greatest crimes committed day in and day out.”

Awesome stuff. Congrats to Ty and his support system.