A South Carolina football player who was paralyzed during game action two years ago is back on the field serving as a volunteer assistant coach.
Mark Mickens was a varsity football defensive back for Westwood (S.C.) who was paralyzed when making a tackle during a football game in 2015. He spent more than two years rehabbing his injuries, and while he still requires a wheelchair to get around, the Class of 2017 graduate is now tapping back into his passion for the sport by serving as an assistant coach for Ridge View (S.C.).
According to The State newspaper of Columbia, Mickens now serves as an assistant coach for special teams and defensive backs, barking out instructions from his wheelchair during practices.
For Mickens, the return to the field is a powerful way for him to keep engaged with sports. Meanwhile, he is focused on continual physical improvement. Mickens is realistic enough to know that it’s a long shot for him to walk again, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t going to give that pursuit every ounce of energy he can.
“I try not to think about it (the injury) too much and want to live in the now,” Mickens told The State. “I am doing whatever I can to stay positive. I am still doing therapy and there is hope. I am going to continue doing it and to fight the battle and come on top.”