Former Detroit Lions running back Jahvid Best is on his way to the 2016 summer Olympics in Rio. But he didn’t take the normal road to get there. The incredible athlete was the victim of a severe concussion that knocked him out and barred him from the NFL forever. He was even dubbed, “…the NFL’s poster boy for concussions.â€
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After recovering from his injury, the former high school track star started sprinting again. And only two years of professional running later, he qualified for the Olympics!
He will compete for Saint Lucia, a tiny Caribbean nation with a population of just 163,000. Best’s father is a dual citizen of both the United States and Saint Lucia which makes Best eligible to represent the tiny island nation in the 2016 Olympics.
“When I think [about] the road I have traveled to get here I get tons of emotions,” Best told NBC. “A couple of years ago my lifetime dream was crushed. I was devastated, but I never stop dreaming and believing in myself.”
Best registered on the Olympic radar on April 2, when he ran a personal-best 10.16 seconds for the 100m dash with nearly the maximum allowable tailwind (1.9 meters/second) at a small track meet in California. His qualifying time wouldn’t have made the US olympic team cut, but it’s more than fast enough to represent Saint Lucia in the upcoming games.
“This is a huge accomplishment for me, but at the same time this is just the beginning,”Best said. “I have only been in this sport for two years professionally, and plan on being around for a long time.â€
We can all learn from Best’s determination and strength of spirit. When one door closes, another will always open. We can’t wait to see how he does in Rio!
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