Shaquille Vance: Overcoming obstacles

Shaquille Vance is a very special young man. He has overcome many obstacles in his life and has kept a great attitude in spite of what he has been through.

On April 1st, 2009, while playing a fun game of football outside with a few friends, Shaquille was tackled in a way that caused his body to turn and his leg to stand still. They rushed him to the hospital only to learn that all ligaments were destroyed. Everything was destroyed.

Two weeks later, Shaquille Vance was in a six-to-seven hour surgery. During that time, no blood was circulating to his feet, and his leg was removed six inches below the knee.

Shaquille was the starting wide receiver and linebacker for the Houston Hill Toppers in Houston, Miss. He had been playing since the sixth grade. Football was his life, and he loved it.

The biggest effect this tragedy had on him was not being out there with his teammates. He stated that his family, his friends and the entire community stood by his side and there for him.

But it is God who he gives the greatest honor to. He learned that no matter what, God will be there by your side, through it all, and He will never give up on you. He also learned there is a reason for everything that He does.

Shaquille's Quote: "When I lost my leg and found out that all of my dreams had been crushed I was heartbroken. I felt as if my life was over, but I began to pray and God gave me strength.

"I decided laying in the hospital bed for 51 days that my life was not over it was just beginning. After each surgery, I kept telling myself that I am a conqueror."

And a conqueror he is. In two or three weeks, this young man will once again play football if the doctor allows. This is Shaquille's goal. He is determined, and he is ready. Nothing seems to stand in his way or keep him down. We continue this story with a question and answer time with Shaquille Vance.

Shaquille Vance
High School: Houston High School, Houston, Miss.
Class: Senior Class of 2010
Hometown: Houston, Miss.

Position: wide receiver, linebacker
Ht: 6-4
Wt: 156
Forty: 4.5, before accident
Bench Max: 335
Squat Max: 450

What is your greatest goal in life:
"To be successful in playing football and go to college and become a coach."

Preparations for becoming the best person:
"Maintain a positive attitude, clear mind, and never give up."

Preparations for the best in the classroom:
"Study, work hard, and join in on class discussion. Try to handle the hand that life has dealt me to the best of my ability."

How do you want to be most remembered one day:
"As someone who never gave up when faced with life's obstacles."

<What is your greatest dream:
"To play football again."

Your favorite food:
"Pizza."

Your favorite movie:
"Remember the Titans and Any Given Sunday."

What would you like to be doing 10 years from now:
"Playing in the NFL."

Why is FINISHING so important:
"I never want to be a quitter no matter what place I'm in, and I would want to know the outcome of every journey I began."

When the going gets tough, the tough get going. Share a time in your life when the going was tough, but you kept going:
"When I lost my leg and found out that all of my dreams had been crushed I was heartbroken. I felt as if my life was over, but I began to pray and God gave me strength. I decided laying in the hospital bed for 51 days that my life was not over it was just beginning. After each surgery, I kept telling myself that I am a conqueror. "

Who has had the greatest influence on your life and why:
"God, family, and my community. God always lets me know that he is here with me and that if I continue to believe in Him that my dreams will come true one day. My family and my community has been here for me every step of the way encouraging me to never give up."

What does it truly take to be a Champion:
"God, hard work, dedication, persistence, confidence, desire, and teamwork is a formula that works for me."


What a great story about a special young man who has refused to allow obstacles to stand in the way of his dream. Shaquille thanked me for the opportunity and I was more than touched while interviewing this young man. What a great spirit he has within and a huge determination to go for his dreams. He will do great things in life.


Shea Lowery is the Director of Quinn's Ranch Children's Home.
Quinn's Ranch

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