I recently read Coming Back Stronger by Drew Brees and appreciated the message he provides.  I was unfamiliar with the amount of difficulty Brees has faced in his life from injuries, family issues, and rough patches in his playing career.  It was during his junior year of high school that he experienced an ACL tear in the state playoffs that would change his life.  He was disappointed and upset but in church one Sunday he felt like the sermon was directed at him.  There he had a revelation to be one of god’s few good men and not just in football.  Brees worked hard in rehab and came back senior year at 195 pounds from 170.  His determination led his team to a 16-0 record where they won the state 5A championship.  Regardless of this feat, Brees was not recruited hard but was still determined to make the most of his offer with Purdue.


Brees started off his NFL career slow which led to the San Diego Chargers drafting a quarterback with their first pick the following year.  Right away his starting job was in trouble and Brees accepted the challenge as he aimed to play his best football.  Unfortunately, he dislocated his shoulder trying to recover a fumble and people questioned if he could ever be an effective quarterback again.    Brees had a successful surgery and painful rehab, as he strived to return better than ever.  Sadly, the Chargers had moved on in a new direction and only two other teams were interested in him.  Brees chose the New Orleans Saints because he felt their staff trusted his abilities more.  Additionally, he took it as a sign from God that a year later the city was trying to comeback from Hurricane Katrina and he should be there to help as he tried to comeback himself.

Brees had good years in New Orleans leading up to 2009 when the team was clicking and excited about making a run.  Unfortunately at the start of training camp Brees found out that his mom had died.  He later discovered it was suicide in which she had taken a variety of pills.  Even though his relationship with his mom had been estranged, he still felt terrible pain and later realized this whole time his mom had mental and emotional issues that caused some of her irrational behavior.  It was a tough way for him to start the season but the Saints started off 13-0 on their way to a Super Bowl victory.  It’s truly impressive and inspiring how Brees was able to overcome these challenges on his way to becoming a Super Bowl MVP with multiple NFL passing records.  All this was possible because he learned early in life that adversity is not your enemy, but to instead use hardships to unleash your power and make yourself stronger.   

It seems like such a simple message, but we tend to forget that when problems arise we need to come up with our best effort.  No matter the setback, we have the opportunity to step up to the plate and come out better than before.  Take Adrian Peterson who had the second most rushing yards in NFL history last season while being less than nine months back from a torn ACL and MCL in his knee.  Peterson credits his genetics and strong work ethic for this spectacular recovery, as he knew from the first day of rehabilitation he was going to give everything he had to overcome the injury. 

-Isaac Brewton

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