‘He’s a fighter’; American football player recovering from collision during practice


MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) – A University of Southern Alabama football player is learning to walk again after colliding with a teammate during practice in October.

People in the community are rallying behind Marvin Martin, better known as “MJ,” to support him on his long road to recovery.

MJ’s mother, Dorothy Martin, says she was home when she received a phone call no mother ever wants to hear.

“He said, you might have to go to Alabama. And I said ‘why?’ He said: ‘MJ had an accident. I said, ‘a car accident?’ He said no – an accident on the football field. So at that time I was getting another phone call which was Coach. They had him ready on a stretcher to take him to the hospital,” Dorothy Martin said.

“He’s like– mom, mom- you gotta pray for me now- and I was like, ‘what’s wrong?’ and he said to me, ‘I don’t feel anything. I can’t move and I don’t feel anything,’ Martin added.

MJ grew up playing on the football field all his life. His mother says MJ is unlike any other.

“He never gave me any problems – he was that kid who loved to train. He loved football. He didn’t mind getting up at 4am to go to training. He didn’t mind not getting up at that time to practice – and he was getting up the next morning to do the same,” Martin explained.

MJ joined the Jag’s football program for his first season this year after transferring from K-State.

When Martin received the call that his son was injured, it was a blow.

“We sat there for a few minutes and prayed and then the doctors came in – and they told us he had a spinal injury and his spinal cord was swollen and that was the reason why. he couldn’t move anything. He couldn’t stand being hit at that time,” Martin said.

MJ’s hard work ethic hasn’t wavered since the injury. He has been in Jackson, Mississippi, in a rehabilitation center since late October. He fights every day to get better.

“He doesn’t mind working hard – he works really hard in therapy. He also has breathing problems and they said they accept the injury, so he’s trying. As long as he’s trying, I’m going to give him a ‘ A’ for trying,” Martin said.

Amid the uncertainty, Martin started a Go Fund Me fundraiser to help his son. In just three days, she raised over $14,000 for her medical bills.

“I’m disabled myself – I’m battling lupus every day so I’m not working. So I thought about– we’re going through this, and not knowing the certainty of his injury, I didn’t know not where was my ending– because we’re still in this process of waiting– where do we go from here?” said Martin.

“With a spinal cord injury, it’s like a season of waiting. They can’t really tell you anything, it’s just a waiting process. And now that he’s able to move his legs and his arms and all that, but he still has a long way to go but he’s not walking and he’s now in a state of paralysis,” she added.

The response to support MJ’s injury has been overwhelming – from the Jag program to the generous donors who gave online.

“The coach was great, the university was great and they were behind me 100% – you know, they were just trying to get him back in shape,” Martin concluded.

“Keep praying, coming, coming,” she pleaded.

If you would like to donate to the Go Fund Me fundraiser, visit the link here.

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