Former Semi-Pro Football Player Takes Leap Of Faith After Crippling Injury
TULSA, Oklahoma - Emeka Nnaka was your typical football player until one play changed his life.
"I was just going down on the kickoff. I made a tackle and then and there I knew something was different, something was wrong. I could feel myself falling, but I couldn't feel myself falling," the defensive end described.
Nnaka broke his neck, leaving him paralyzed from the chest down. His identity as a football player was shattered. He now had to take a leap of faith.
"I re-found God again after I got injured and that gives me joy. Once I found that joy, it's almost like finding peace in the storm. Now I just want to help everybody else find that kind of peace," he said.
Nnaka moved to Tulsa from Georgia to attend Oral Roberts University. While in Tulsa, he joined the semi-professional Oklahoma Thunder football team. The life changing injury happened in 2009 when he was just 21-years-old.
Although his legs don't work how they once did, his drive to workout has not disappeared. He's training daily – riding a bike, strengthening his arms and even standing – at The Center for Individuals with Physical Challenges.
"This place has made a big impact as well, just being able to rehab myself physically. Then at church I rehab myself spiritually and then talking to people I rehab myself mentally," Nnaka said.
When he's not at The Center, he's in class at Langston University or mentoring youth at Victory Christian. His challenge is that he doesn't have a car to get around. That's why he entered a video contest hoping to win a handicapped-accessible van.
To vote for Nnaka, click here.
"I'd be able to do a lot more for reaching out to the different things in the community, speaking at different schools, meeting different kids, coming up here when I need to," Nnaka said.
The National Mobility Equipment Deals Association will give away 2014 custom wheelchair accessible vehicles in hopes of raising awareness and to show there are mobility solutions available for people with disabilities.