A Personal September 11


Blessed is a man who endures trials, because when he passes the test he will receive the crown of life that He has promised to those who love Him. — James 1:12


Paul “Bear” Bryant, born on September 11, 1913, once said, “It’s not the will to win that matters; everyone has that. It’s the will to prepare to win that matters.” September 11, 2001, will forever be remembered as one of our country’s worst tragedies; however, on September 11, 1983, I experienced my own tragedy. On that day, I suffered a spinal cord injury during a football game. I dislocated three vertebrae in my neck, and was told I would never walk again and could be permanently paralyzed from the neck down. Today, twenty-two years later, I am confined to a wheelchair.

I wasn’t a Christian at that time. I knew there was a God but had difficulty trusting in Him. However, after years of depression and meditating on my losses, I started concentrating on the blessings I have and focusing on my future. I now believe God had a good purpose for my injury, which was to bring me close to Him. I don’t understand everything, but I see the big picture. I came to know and have a personal relationship with Christ. I have since discovered several reasons for my ability to overcome this obstacle in my life. Before I was born, God knew what I would face and prepared me for it. Coaches must have perseverance and a positive attitude in order to succeed, and my tragedy has enabled both. I thank God for His presence in my life, and for His provision of my family and close friends.


1. We experience many tragedies in life. How have you responded to yours?
2. In your role as coach, can your players see Jesus through you during tough times?


Extra Reading: Genesis 50:20; Jeremiah 1:5; 29:11; Romans 8:28


God, when a September 11-type event occurs in our lives, we’re glad You are with us. We know You are there to hold us up when we can’t hold ourselves up. You move us from point A to point B when we can’t make it on our own. We’re blessed to have You as our Father. Thank you for your strength and love. Amen.

Bible Reference: 
James 1