After being shot six times in a case of mistaken identity, Malcolm X Shabazz High School quarterback Jaheem Burks was told he would never play football again.
“He looked at me with the coldest stare and said, ‘I’m gonna play this year,’” head coach Darnell Grant told TAPinto.net.
It wasn’t just a matter of recovering and taking the field.
Burks had to relearn how to walk.
“I really never had issues making plays and running,” he said to USAFootball. “After my shooting, I had to learn how to walk again.”
The quarterback returned in May and told TAPinto he’s at 97 or 98 percent recovery.
“I’m still not where I want to be but I can see the progress,” Burks said to USAFootball. “I used to be one of the fastest guys on my team but now I’m struggling to regain my speed and quickness.”
Nevertheless, he’s back as Shabazz tries to defend its undefeated championship 2017 season.
Burks has been nominated for USAFootball’s Heart of a Giant Award, which recognizes high school athletes in the Tri-State area who “demonstrate unparalleled work ethic and a passion” for football.
Six finalists receive $1,500 for their high school football program.
The winner gets a $5,000 equipment grant for his team and will be recognized on-field during a New York Giants game in December.
Fans can vote for one nominee each week here.