Keaston White went to school on Sept. 11, 2001 when his life and the lives of his country were changed forever. The terrorist attacks that occurred on that infamous day shook this country to the core and made it hard to make sense of everything that was happening. The one thing that makes sense for many young people, that helps bring stability to their lives, is athletics. Despite the tragedy in New York, the Collins Hill football team went out to practice that afternoon and Keaston wanted to work hard for his team.

He lined up at cornerback for the first time that afternoon, as he primarily played safety. Keaston described the play to me himself.

“We were out on the field and I had not been starting yet because I had a pulled hamstring almost immediately prior, but they wanted someone to play corner that was fast enough and could hit hard enough so I was nominated,” he said. “I laid out a few guys, then one play the other guy was coming around and I went in and my head went down.”


Keaston doesn’t remember that much from that play 12 years ago, but he remembers on the ride to the hospital that he felt like his cleats were still on even though they had been taken off. He felt tightness in his feet that made it seem like they were still on. He had fractured his fifth vertebrae and the diagnosis was an incomplete C5 quadriplegic.

After three months in the hospital he went to Shepherd Center where he did physical therapy and occupational therapy inpatient, and eventually outpatient for a couple weeks. When asked what life was like the months after rehab Keaston explained his struggle.

“It was difficult,” he explained. “I had lost a lot of…”

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