Ex-college football player stands for graduation after tackle left him paralyzed
In the first game of his junior season at Georgetown, linebacker Ty Williams, while trying to tackle a receiver, suffered a spinal injury that left him paralyzed.
It ended his football career, but it wouldn’t define him.
In fact, Williams vowed to walk again, and said he would walk across the stage to accept his diploma.
After two-and-half years of intense rehab, that’s exactly what he did.
Williams took his first steps since the injury when he walked on stage to get his diploma Saturday.
After suffering a neck injury in a 2015 football game, Ty Williams (C’18) promised he would walk across the stage at graduation. Today, he fulfilled that promise. @Georgetown @GeorgetownHoyas #Hoyas2018 #werenotcryingyourecrying pic.twitter.com/wTlDNzsDLD
— Georgetown College (@GeorgetownColl) May 19, 2018
Williams was the last person to walk across the stage, but it was a moment that meant so much more than just getting his degree.
He came out to the stage in his wheelchair and was helped to his feet by an aide. With the help of a walker, Williams indeed walked across the stage to get his degree, with an aide holding him from behind for support.
Williams leaned into the school president, Jack DeGioia, to embrace him as he accepted his degree. It was an emotional moment for everyone in attendance, and the crowd applauded and cheered.
A moment we will never forget: @HoyasFB senior Ty Williams, who suffered a spinal chord injury in a game in September 2015, walks for the first time in 2.5 years at @Georgetown's graduation on Saturday where he earned his degree in government. #HoyaSaxa pic.twitter.com/VKOh8bFOmr
— Georgetown Hoyas (@GeorgetownHoyas) May 19, 2018
“A moment we will never forget,” school officials posted on Twitter.
A year earlier, in June 2017, he was the keynote speaker at his alma mater, Gaithersburg High School in Gaithersburg, Maryland.
Williams told the students about the power of having a positive outlook in the face of even the worst circumstances.
“Having a positive mindset can really change the way you see the world. We ourselves have to be our number one 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,” Williams told graduating high school class, according to the Gaithersburg Courier.
QO Alum Ty Williams was guest speaker at the Gaithersburg Principals, Counselors and PTA Appreciation Breakfast. QO Proud! pic.twitter.com/L1oZiBy6Ay
— Carole Working (@WorkingonQO) October 2, 2017
“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,” Williams added.
He’s living proof of that.
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