After an accident at Football Camp in July of 2017 left D.J. Myers, paralyzed, he said to his Mom, “If I can’t play football, I’m going to die.” According to Jenna Laine, of ESPN.com.
Myers underwent a 10 hour surgery to remove and repair a fractured vertebrae, and was hospitalized for four months to recover. While it is uncertain how much Myers will recover going forward, he is currently wheelchair bound and unable to feel anything below his belly button. He also suffers from muscle spasms and severe migraines.
Following his accident, his family reached out to D.J.’s favorite team, the Buccaneers, and let them know about the accident. And a few days after his surgery, DeSean Jackson decided to reach out to the young man with some words of encouragement via video.
“What’s going on D.J.? It’s DeSean Jackson, wide Reciever for the Buccaneers. I heard I was your favorite player. I just wanted to wish you a speedy recovery.” Jackson said, according to ESPN.com.
He went on to say, “Put God first, keep praying, I’ll pray for you as well and hopefully everything goes back to normal. I’m sorry about your injury. Get well, and like I said, put God first and God bless you. Take care, man.”
Along with the video message, Jackson also sent the young football player a signed Jersey.
Myers got to meet his favorite player for the first time on Saturday, and nearly broke down as Jackson walked toward him.
Myers touched on how Jacksons video message helped inspire him to work hard in therapy. “I was really in a down place. When he sent that, it really made me want to do therapy, it made me want to get up out of bed.” Myers said. “I was doing therapy, literally, and he sent me the video. My heart just like dropped. I was like, ‘wow. He really cares for me.’ It really touched my heart the he did that for me. Because not a lot of players would ever be able to do that, you know?”
”I know he was down. I just wanted to send him an encouraging message, to not get down on himself.” Jackson also told ESPN. He introduced Myers to his teammates as his little brother.
Myers has not been able to return to classes at South Lake High School in Groveland, Florida, since the accident, however, he has kept up with his schoolwork during his recovery, and finished last year with a 4.0 GPA.
His mother, Rhonda D’Haiti told ESPN that her sons spirit and faith has “never faded” and that “he’s broken, but not defeated”
And although Myers’ dream was to earn a football scholarship and play at Florida State, he is staying positive as the new school year begins and has been nominated for the Teen Leadership Program at Arnold Palmer and is running for president of the council. On top of that, Myers is also volunteering as an assistant to his High School’s coaching staff. Myers was able to take senior pictures with his teammates, and the team retired his jersey number to honor him.
”That just shows his motivation, his willingness not to quit, to not give up. It shows other players around him that he might be going through something tragic, but he’s gonna continue to be motivated. It shows others around him that it’s not gonna break him.” Jackson told ESPN.