Porter Hancock shares story with campers
At the end of Aaron Alford’s football camp at Treasure Mountain Middle School on Monday afternoon, the 83 campers and various Park City High School players and coaches surrounded Alford and took a knee.
That’s when he introduced Porter Hancock, the South Summit High School football player who was paralyzed while making a tackle during a game on Oct. 7, 2011.
Since then, it’s been a long rehab process for Hancock. Though doctors told him he’d never be able to raise his arms above his head or wheel his own wheelchair, he’s since gained partial use of his arms and done both.
Alford wanted his campers to hear Hancock’s inspiring message about heart and determination.
"Me and Coach Alford, we’re good friends," Hancock said. "He was at the hospital a lot cheering me up and always keeping me positive. I at least owe this to him to come out here and give (my message) to his boys and let them know what it’s all about."
Though being around the game that left him paralyzed was initially tough for Hancock, he’s beginning to love it again.
"I’ve accepted what happened," he said. "I’ve accepted everything that comes with it. Now all I can do is embrace the game and give back what was once given to me."
He said he also draws motivation from the people he speaks with on a daily basis.
"Every day I have to get up and it’s a lot different for me," he said. "But I just look around me and I’ve got a great family that’s always there and I’ve got great friends. Everybody that says I inspire them, that I motivate them, it motivates me to get back up when I’m down."
Hancock added that many of the families of the campers gave money to help with his medical bills after the injury, so he wanted to do something to thank them.
"It’s important for me to be out here giving it back to them," he said. "Just giving back the knowledge and perspective I have on life."
Now that playing football is no longer an option, he’s found a new sport to keep him occupied quadriplegic rugby. Hancock recently started playing with the Utah Scorpions.
"As long as I can keep in a sport, that’s part of what keeps me going," he said. "It’s just like football again you’ve got to train every day for it, no matter what."
He plans to keep playing quad rugby, rehabbing and moving on with his life in general. He graduated from South Summit in May and will begin college at Utah Valley University’s Wasatch campus this fall.
"If you’re not moving forward, you’re moving backwards," he said.
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