One football player in northeast Ohio is playing with a heavy heart and a new purpose this fall after a tragedy befell his family just last month.
In early August, Mayfield (Ohio) rising senior Tyrone Tiggs was with his family in Myrtle Beach, S.C. It was on this vacation that Tiggs’ father drowned.
“My last moment with my dad, he was smiling at me,” Tiggs told the News-Herald after a recent practice. “I’ll always see that smile. That’s my memory, not the CPR they were doing on him at the beach.”
As the News-Herald reports, the trip to Myrtle Beach was somewhat of a spur-of-the-moment vacation plan for the Tiggs family. While Ty Tiggs didn’t want to take any time away from football, his father really wanted his son to come on the trip.
“Dad’s such a family guy,” Ty told the News-Herald. “He wanted us there. He kept asking me about it until finally he said I had to go.”
A weekend that was supposed to be filled with fun turned tragic on the second day. Ty, his brother Hadith and his brother-in-law had walked out to a sandbar of sorts, where the water would go from shallow to deeper to shallow again.
Ty’s father, Tyrone Tiggs, came out to the boys, walking in the water, then said he was going to go back to the shore to his wife and Ty’s mother, Rheaba, per the News-Herald.
After seeing his dad smile at them, he didn’t see him again.
“We went up to the beach and couldn’t find him,” Ty told the News-Herald. “Then I heard someone scream ‘Is anyone looking for a black man in white shorts?’
“I knew right then it was my dad. I was so shaken, I couldn’t move.”
Tyrone Tiggs had been pulled out to deeper waters by a strong current. He was pulled from the water facedown, suffering an apparent cardiac arrest.
It has obviously been a traumatic time for the Tiggs family, and the youngest child of the family in particular. He had had a sit-down conversation with his father before the year.
“He told me he wanted me to play Division I college football,” Ty told the News-Herald. “That’s literally the last conversation we had. We were sitting down and he said he wanted me to play on TV. We had a nice dinner, a nice talk, and he was telling me what he wanted for me.
“That was our last big conversation, and I’ll never forget it.”
The Herald-News reports that Tiggs has some Division II offers, from the likes of Ohio Dominican, Notre Dame College, Davenport (Iowa) University and Urbana. But he has his eyes on something bigger/
“I don’t care what I have to do — stay overtime, work, play any position,” Tiggs said. “I’m going to be that person you can change your program with.”
With memory of his dad on his mind, Tiggs forges ahead.
You can read more of the News-Herald story here.