After Being Partially Paralyzed, A Former Georgetown Linebacker Walks For The First Time At Graduation
Ty Williams suffered a C6 incomplete injury in 2015.
For the next two years, the Hoyas kept Williams on the roster, and the team played with a sticker of his jersey No. 2 on the back of their helmets.
“It was hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel this time last year,” Williams wrote on a GoFundMe page a year after the injury happened, sharing how a positive mindset helped him in his rehabilitation efforts. “Today I’m so excited to keep working hard and keep getting better because I know it’s just a matter of time until this is just another day in my life.”
May 19 of this year wasn’t just another day in the courageous college athlete’s life. That day, Williams attended Georgetown University’s graduation to accept his degree in government. After being wheeled up to the stage, he shocked fellow Hoya graduates by getting up out of his chair and using a walker to pick up his diploma from Georgetown President Jack DeGioia.
It was the first time Williams had walked since his injury.
A moment we will never forget: @HoyasFB senior Ty Williams, who suffered a spinal chord injury in a game in September 2015, walks for the first time in 2.5 years at @Georgetown's graduation on Saturday where he earned his degree in government. #HoyaSaxapic.twitter.com/VKOh8bFOmr— Georgetown Hoyas (@GeorgetownHoyas) May 19, 2018\n
He provided a glimpse into his outlook in June 2017 with a speech at Quince Orchard High School, his alma mater, in Gaithersburg, Maryland.
Here’s an excerpt, courtesy of The Town Courier:
“Having a positive mindset can really change the way you see the world. We ourselves have to be our No. 1 motivator. In hard times, when our back is against the wall and we feel like there is no way out, we have to be the first ones to tell ourselves that it’ll be okay and that we must and will overcome. ... Through surrounding ourselves with positivity, we can breathe new life around us. We can take advantage of everything life has to offer by doing so. Do not allow yourself to be defined by yourself or by others. We are so much more than just one part of ourselves. Constantly adhering your actions to please others will drain you and leave you lost in your own body.
I hate the word ‘normal.’ It is a word of judgment and helps create the schisms, hate and prejudice we see today that separates our country and this world. There is a deep hatred rooted within this country that stems solely from the inability to accept those that are different. Putting a label on a human being is one of the greatest crimes committed day in and day out.”