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A Change of View

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Senior Alex Adams said nothing on the two hour drive to pick up his older sister from college, so she could be with her family as they said final goodbyes to their father. He struggled to absorb the void slowly entering his heart. It was Jan. 24, 2017 when Adams would have to step up as the man of the house.

Adams’ father was diagnosed with an extremely rare brain disease that only 13 Americans had ever been diagnosed with — all of which died. A mere 24 days stood between his father’s diagnosis and the day a stroke. A loving decision to remove Mr. Adams from life support and allow him to pass comfortably was made on on Jan. 24. With those who meant the most to him at his side, Mr. Adams took his last breath.

“After I heard he didn’t have much time left, I tuned the doctors out,” Adams said. “I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.”

Only three months prior, Adams’ football career ended after three crushing hits to the head during a junior varsity game against Trinity High School. For years, Adams imagined playing varsity football with his closest friends. Because of those three hits that he didn’t process until the last one took him out, he would be permanently sidelined and not cleared to ever play again. Adams felt a hollow space grow inside of him with the thought of never playing his dream sport once more. Being part of the team is so much more than wearing pads and running plays. His best friends and best memories were part of the program, there was no way he could walk away from the team.  

Adams has remained part of the football program as a manager for the team, and he’s thankful to be included. Although his role is different than it was as a player, he is valued greatly and appreciated by all. The hours are long and there is limited acknowledgement by fans. Adams has risen to the challenge of dealing with so much in such a short time.

“Surprisingly with this concussion, my grades have gone way up,” Adams said. The time and energy not spent in practice is spent investing in his academic future.

Leaving the sport he always loved was a tough battle to endure. But, losing his father only months later added to the weight on his back. He credits his teammates and mother for being his support system throughout this life altering year.

“It was a rough year for me, but I’m making my way back,” Adams said. He often touches and looks down at his class ring. He smiles easily, but the love he had for his life only a year ago will probably tug at him for years to come.

“I’m going to go to the same college my dad went to, and I’m going to get his class ring and have my graduation year engraved in it too,” Adams said.

The greatest change Adams has seen in himself is that he doesn’t take life for granted, because he’s experienced first hand how quickly something can be taken away. Adams has also been grateful to have more time to spend working on his grades so he can follow in his father’s footsteps at North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Football had always been a common passion between the two of them, and he will always cherish the moments he had with his father on the sidelines and the weekends he spent watching college football with his father.

“I loved watching the UNC football games with him on the weekends,” Adams said.

 

Despite losing two things he loved dearly in his life at such a young age, Adams hasn’t let that deter him from living and loving his life.

 

“Never leave someone angry, especially your parents,” Adams said. “You never know if that’s the last time you could tell them you love them.”

Soon after his father passed away Adams started his Eagle Scout project. Without having his dad there Adams invited some of his friends from the football team to help him. Instead of two or three football players dozens of them and even people out side of the program joined him on a cold morning to build park benches to support him get what he had been working years for.

“I’m really blessed to have had that support from all my friends,” Adams said.

 

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A Change of View