At birth, I weighed just over 2 pounds.
Born at just 26 weeks, about three-and-a-half months early, I weighed just 2-pounds, 2-ounces. Because I was so tiny, I was put on life support and had to spend the first 66 days of my life in Children's Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). Because there were no accommodations for my parents to stay with me around the clock, they drove to and from the hospital every day to visit me.
As I got a little older, I started to wake up in the middle of the night and would have trouble breathing. My parents would have to get steam going in the shower to help open my airways. Because I had difficulty breathing, I was afraid of participating in athletic and physical activities.
However, my parents continued to push me to try new sports like T-ball, baseball and basketball. Although I hated it at first, I eventually started to love sports – especially football.
I'm now 6-feet tall and weigh 215 pounds. I'm an inside linebacker on the varsity football team in college. I'm often reminded of how close I was to not surviving and how fortunate I am to not have any serious health problems. That motivates me to play even harder every time I'm on the field.