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Walk The Walk: Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl Salutes Heroes, Teamwork, Competition

December 30th, 2008 · Tags:Sports

Oh what I wouldn’t do to lace up the football cleats again and strap on a helmet … back to the days before an injury ended my interest in playing football.

Lt. Col. Gadson

Lt. Col. Gadson

Lt. Col. Greg Gadson never lost interest in the game, but he will never wear those shoes again.  He was a three-year starter at his linebacker position at West Point, playing for Army in two bowl games.  After graduation, duty called and then for his last tour he was deployed to Iraq.  Soon after, a roadside boobytrap ripped apart his armored vehicle, hurling him to the side of the road … his legs destroyed, he was bleeding to death.  That was May 7, 2007.

But thanks to the heroics of a 19-year-old private, with two weeks worth of emergency medical training, Gadson lived.

As news of his devastating injury spread, fellow soldiers and Army teammates rallied to help him through the recovery process.  One former Army teammate, Mike Sullivan of the New York Giants connected Gadson with his NFL team — sending Gadson and family to a Giants game.  Then the coaching staff invited Gadson to a special meeting with the Giants at their hotel.  Gadson’s talk with the team is credited with helping to motivate the NFL team to win their division and ultimately take home one of the biggest upset wins in Super Bowl history.

CBS 11, Colorado Springs, Interviews Gadson

CBS 11, Colorado Springs, Interviews Gadson

Today, just 24 hours before the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl, Gadson stood on prosthetic legs to address a full room of football fans, bowl dignitaries, military, media and squads from the University of Houston and the Air Force Academy.

He retold his painful story with no regrets, urging the players to take pride in their every action, to compete and to build teams that result in lifelong relationships.

Coaches Kevin Sumlin, Troy Calhoun

Man!  Good stuff!  This is what America is about.  That is what football is about, and Gadson is the epitome of an American hero.  I challenge any other bowl game in the land to compete with this much bravery … this much significance … this much patriotism.

Can’t wait until the 11 a.m. CST kickoff on Dec. 31.  Check out the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl on ESPN television … but I must warn you that the fighterjet flyover (and the football action) is much better live at Amon G. Carter Stadium in Fort Worth.

Know what I sayin?