Originally Published: Oct 28, 2009 9:19 PM CDTJB Long
CHECOTAH, Oklahoma -- His father gave him the nickname "Tank”, and Chris Carr's running style fits the description.
"He runs violently," head coach Brandon Turley said.
A 5'11'', 185-pound running back, Carr's imposing stature has attracted Division I recruiters. But underneath his jersey are the battle scars of a dozen childhood surgeries to combat a serious abdominal condition.
"I had to get a lot of things taken out of me and had surgery all the time," Carr said.
"Everybody told him he wouldn't be able to do anything, but he kind of fought through it," senior linebacker Chase Butler said. "He's got a good spirit, always upbeat and stuff."
For years, Carr avoided contact sports like football, afraid that the first blow to his stomach would not only end his career, but end his life. When he finally decided to take the risk by coming out for spring football before his sophomore year, it nearly did.
"I tripped and the tip of the ball hit me in the stomach," Carr said. "I was pretty scared, I'm not going to lie."
"They had to go in and do emergency surgery and he lost like 25 pounds. We weren't even worried about him playing football again, we were just worried about how healthy he would be and him coming out okay," Turley said. "The next thing you know when he's healthy, he wants to come back and get back in the weight room. And to be able to overcome that type of adversity, to overcome those odds, that just reflects tremendously upon him."
A Mr. Football finalist as a junior, Carr has already amassed 590 rushing yards and seven touchdowns in 2009. He never flinches during his runs, even if his teammates still do.
"Every time he gets hit, I just kind of tense up. But he always bounces right back up," Butler said.
Carr's health and determination have been critical to Checotah's success, but his impact goes far beyond the Wildcats' 6-2 record.
"As coaches, we talk about heart about character and intestinal fortitude, overcoming adversity. You know he is definitely, definitely a symbol of being able to do that," Turley said.