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Former Sherman High football player paralyzed during game 25 years ago returns to campus with book on overcoming adversity

Updated: May. 12, 2021 at 11:00 PM CDT
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SHERMAN, Texas (KXII) - Twenty-five years ago a Sherman High School football player’s life changed forever when he broke a vertebrae in his neck during a game back in 1996.

Leaving him paralyzed from the neck down.

Trenell Walker started his football career at Sherman High in 1995 and in his sophomore year he went in for a tackle that ended up changing his life forever.

“I was bringing down the opposing team’s running and my teammate came from the opposite side to assist,” Walker said. “He actually missed the running abck and hit me on the top of the helmet.”

The hit crushed the fourth vertebrae in his neck, leaving him paralyzed from the neck down at just 14.

“It was depressing, I felt like giving up, I thought my life was over,” Walker said. “I went from being an able-bodied person to being paralyzed.”

Walker’s dream of going to the NFL and “being able to financially provide for my family, buy my mom a house, a car and let her retire” were gone in an instant.

“No matter what you’re going through you have to take action,” Walker said. “Because in life there are going to be times that you are going to want to give up.”

Walker broke the fourth vertebra in his neck, and has been in a wheelchair since.

“I’ve learned that relationships are everything,” Walker said. “Being able to stay connected with the community, being able to stay connected with those very important people in my life that has also been motivation and inspiration for me to be able to give back.”

Giving back with his words of wisdom and experience with his new book “The T.R.E.N.E.L.L. Effect.”

People were able to come tour the new Sherman High School Indoor Athletic Facility and meet Walker, hear his story and got motivational messages from Walker himself.

“You are unstoppable, because it’s impossible to start a motivated person because they will never quit,” Walker said.

Ronnie Tipps coached the Bearcats for eight years and was on the sideline and Walker’s hospital bed side after he broke his neck.

“It was devastating from a coaching standpoint, but more importantly for the kid,” Tipps said. “I think he’s a great example of regardless of what life bring to us is that yes we’ve got to go through the battle, you’ve got to go through the struggle but you can come out on the other side.”

A lesson bet taught through Walker’s own words.

“Stay motivated, stay positive, stay strong,” Walker said. “Because you are are unstoppable.”

Walker says he plans to continue going to different schools and organization and sharing his story.

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