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Saturday, 20 September 2014

Touching Story-How Armed Robbers Shattered NFL dream of US Based Nigerian Student(Photo)

 This was not the life Okwara dreamt of when he transferred from Livingston College in South Carolina to Alabama State University, recruited as a line backer for the college football team, in 2012.Early this fall, as summer days were ending, his dreams of playing in the National Football League, America’s elite professional sports , shattered during a day time random robbery in his apartment complex.The 20-year-old athlete remembered how the robbery happened. continue...
“It was very spontaneous. Three men deceived my roommate and I as we walked out of our apartment that afternoon, they said they had ipod gadgets to sell to us in our apartment complex. The guys asked us to meet at a designated area to check the ipods. As soon as we arrived, they pulled guns at us, took my bag. I was scared. I reacted by punching one of the robbers in his face. He was knocked unconscious: his gun fell from his hands. One of the robbers panicked and shot at me as I was about to run. Everything went down so fast. I was shot in my waist. I lay in a pool of blood, bullet lodged in my spine; I was in serious pain from the gunshot. Other residents in the complex called the police and requested an ambulance. Thirty minutes later, the ambulance arrived and I was rushed to the Baptist 
hospital in Montgomery Alabama. I couldn’t move and breathing was very hard. I just wanted the hospital to put me to sleep. I was in a coma for six days.”
Through the university, the hospital contacted CJ’s dad, Chigozie Okwara, in far away Raleigh North Carolina. The hospital briefed him on the state of his son. That evening, he drove hundreds of miles to be by his son’s side.

Chigozie has had his shares of the American nightmares. He moved to the United States with his wife in 1991. Few years after settling into life, the couple had CJ. Chigozie engaged in small business enterprise with his wife to care for their young family. He opened an African restaurant, managed by his wife while he supported the income from the restaurant with taxicab operations. In 1996, his wife had immigration problems and was subsequently deported to Nigeria. Chigozie became a single parent by circumstance. He struggled to raise his two boys, CJ and his younger brother.

CJ experienced the hard and difficult life in the United States with his dad and brother.
‘Sir, those experiences motivated me to work hard in school and hopefully be a great football player and business man so that I might be that golden ticket for my family, especially my dad.” 
Young CJ stared at the ceiling in the room, tears began to drop from the corners of his red eyes. He tried to hide the expressions of his feelings before his father. He didn’t want him to see the tears, but the streams ran down his eyes, spreading and covering his face.
“Mr. Jebose, I see this situation as a lesson. I have a second chance at life. I received so much support from friends and within the Football League. One of my friends, Austin, told me how I inspired him: how he looked up to me and how he always wanted to be like me. I didn’t know at all that the simple things I did for him as a friend would impact him so much, so when this happened, he was
always here, supporting me with bible verses and encouraging me to stay strong. I had to be strong mentally and physically to be able to begin this new chapter of my life’s story.
“I feel I have disappointed my dad. My dad always told me to avoid bad situations; I got caught up in this strange armed robbery attack: my dreams of going to the National Football League as a pro draft shattered. My family looked up to me to better our lives. My father had gone through pains for us and especially for me. I worked very hard as an athlete from my high school to college so I would be able to fulfill my dreams of NFL and help my family. He spent three years in immigration detention facing deportation, but we pulled that through, now this armed robbery against me disabled my hopes and dreams. I feel I have disappointed my family. I can’t be drafted by NFL as a paralysed athlete. But I have 
to be positive.
“I dreamt of the big game days in NFL. I dreamt of super bowl. I never got the opportunity to show my talent. I came down to Alabama on scholarship to play football and also get education, but my big dream got shattered. Next year would have been my year for an opportunity to shine in the NFL and help my family live comfortably. I will finish my major in business and go from there. Being paralysed is not the end of the world.”
Source: Punch

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