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NFL Star Reflects on Near-Death Injury

Ricardo Lockette rose up the ranks of pro football and eventually helped the Seattle Seahawks win the Super Bowl in 2014. But on November 1, 2015, the wide receiver and special teams player, was blindsided with a vicious hit and was left sprawled on the ground in front of 90,000 fans. A year after the hit that nearly broke his neck and took his life, Lockette reflected:

It's crazy what matters to you when you're in that situation. Cars, jewelry, big houses, Super Bowls? It all seems so meaningless. I came up from nothing. Undrafted, practice squad, released a bunch of times, then I made it to three Super Bowls in a row. I have a saying, kind of like a mantra, "A hundred dollars and a dream." I used to want a black Lamborghini and a seven-room house. That's what I dreamed about. Now, all of a sudden, I can't move. And the only thing that mattered to me in the entire world was being able to see my family again, to hold my kids in my arms.
After surgery to repair my damaged vertebrae and a few weeks of serious rehabilitation, I was walking around just fine and we were playing basketball again. But a few months later, in early May, I made the decision to retire from football at age 29. [My head coach Pete] Carroll used to preach to us all the time: "You live in a temporary fairy tale." Your fans are temporary. Your coaches are temporary. Your teammates, as much as they love you, are temporary. The big houses you live in are temporary. You can enjoy all that stuff, but it's not what will bring you happiness.
When I was laying motionless on that turf in Dallas, I was completely dependent upon the help of others. It was the exact opposite of the mindset I had from the moment I got to Seahawks camp as a rookie: You're a rock star. You're a leader. You're the alpha. This is all yours for the taking. Then, in one second, you're helpless.

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