May. 09, 2017
NY Jets Rookie Has Been Blessed With a Second Chance to Play Football
New York Jets rookie Xavier Coleman is not your typical athlete. Just seven years ago he was told that there was little chance that he would ever play football again. Coleman was just fourteen years old.
Earlier this week during minicamp Coleman pulled down his shirt just enough to show off the six-inch scar on his chest. The story behind his recovery is incredible.
When Coleman was in high school, he fainted in the middle of religion class. A few days after that he fainted in the shower. At that time the doctors diagnosed him with a rare, but serious heart condition, something referred to as bicuspid aortic valve disease. Coleman's aortic valve had only two flaps whereas a person in great health would have three. Doctors told him that he could continue to play noncontact sports, but there was no way he would be able to play football ever again.
A few years later his condition got worse. On July 20, 2012, he had to go through a nine-hour open-heart procedure.
"The scariest time in my life," his mother, Christine, said in a phone interview.
He was heartbroken when he received the news regarding his heart condition. Several years ago in the hospital room he vented for hours and threw his books, equipment and anything else he could get his hands on across the room. His mother was standing next to him the whole time. She didn't try to stop him.
Coleman took a break from football for a while and decided to pick up track and basketball instead. In June 2012, doctors had told Coleman that his aortic valve was leaking and blood was filling up with blood. He underwent an emergency procedure, and the doctors said that there was a 95% chance he would be able to play football again.
Coleman was cleared to play, and four months after his heart survey he intercepted a pass and returned it for a touchdown. The crowd went wild.
Coleman went from a young teenager constantly worrying if his heart was still beating to a professional sports athlete. The progress that he has made is surreal. Regardless of what he accomplishes this season, Coleman should be proud that he made it to the NFL.
"In his eyes, he got a second chance at life," Christine said. "That's what drives him."