As a professional athlete in the NFL, Thomas Davis has been through physical hell. He is the only player in the history of the NFL to come back from three separate ACL tears on the same knee. His resilience as a professional football player is second to none, literally. That’s saying a lot considering he’s in a league filled with some of the strongest men on the planet.
Thomas’ resilience has everything to do with how he grew up, and never forgetting where he came from…
Growing up very poor in Shellman Georgia, a town with a population of roughly 1,000, Thomas recalls a childhood of minimal means. His mother did whatever she could to provide for him, but it was tough growing up. Warm baths often consisted of boiling pots of water on the stove and using it to bathe. Electricity was sometimes borrowed from a neighbor by running an extension cord.
Thomas recalled a Christmas when Santa didn’t visit his house; this left him confused and wondering if it had something to do with his behavior. The reality was, there just wasn’t enough in the Davis household to make it happen.
In his adolescence, Thomas’ mother moved away to seek a better paying job so she could provide more for her son. That, unfortunately, meant Thomas was left at home, living on his own. He remembers the small town of Shellman stepping up and helping him out whenever they could, whether that meant providing him with a stick of deodorant or other bare necessities. He lived a tough life growing up, and that’s probably why he is such a great man today.
Thomas Davis has started his own foundation to help children in need, similar to how he was as a youngster (click here to visit the Thomas Davis Defending Dreams Foundation website). He is another shining example of not forgetting where you came from, and paying it forward.
Watching Thomas Davis’ Acceptance Speech at NFL Awards was Inspiring
It was a mellow Saturday night in the Hoddinott residence. After putting my son to bed I turned on the NFL annual award show. A couple minutes after I started watching, commissioner Goodell came on to announce the winner of the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award – given to an NFL player who gives back to the community in an exceptional way. The award went to Thomas Davis. And his acceptance speech was incredibly inspiring and heartfelt. You can watch it above. After that, take a look at the video below to get an inside look into the struggles Davis has gone through as a professional athlete. This is a man with perspective. Thomas Davis is a great role model and leader.