Overcoming adversity: Alaska football player relearns how to play football after losing leg

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Published: Sep. 3, 2020 at 5:21 PM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - What is adversity? Is it something that gets in the way of progress or is it a hurdle one goes through to the next stage in life? Adversity is defined as difficulties and misfortune. Not many people know that more than Monroe Catholic High School sophomore Jabin Collins.

Jabin is a 14-year old football player on Monroe’s roster but his journey began on August 3, 2019 when his life was changed forever. Collins was on his way to a campground when he was involved in a horrific car crash that left him and his sister with serious injuries.

“So when we got to the hospital my best friend was there and she said, ‘Cry now’ and it was worse than they let on,” said Jabin’s mother Amy Collins. “Cause I was thinking okay, they said it’s not that bad. It’s not going to be that bad and it was that bad. And just sitting there remembering and Jabin just kept asking the same things over and over again and he kept asking, ‘Am I going to get to play football? Am I going to get to play football?’ We kept telling him, yep you’re going to play football not knowing if he would ever get to play football again.”

The car after the accident.
The car after the accident.(Collins Family)

Jabin lost some of his toes and majority of the skin on his left foot. Doctors and surgeons fought to save his foot but as the days moved into September it became more and more obvious that they would have to amputate. On September 11, 2019, Jabin had surgery to remove his left foot and a portion of his leg mid-way up the shin.

Jabin Collins after having surgery.
Jabin Collins after having surgery.(Collins Family)

A year later, Jabin has gone from laying in hospital bed for nearly a month to now playing football. He’s even the starting center for the Rams, playing with a prosthetic leg. Jabin’s determination to get onto the field serves as an inspiration to those around him on the team.

“Just watching him and you know never quitting. You know, never giving me excuses about anything,” said Monroe Catholic’s Head Coach Kyle Allison. “I mean, that alone right there just allows better strength and unity in the team and you can look at him and you know you’re going to push harder because of that.”

“It’s an inspiration not only to the team but to us as coaches to show that you know, just because you’re down on luck doesn’t mean it’s going to stop you.” said Monroe Catholic Assistant Coach Shaun Conwell Sr.

Jabin Collins sits on the bench to re-adjust his prosthetic leg.
Jabin Collins sits on the bench to re-adjust his prosthetic leg.(Aaron Walling/KTVF/September 2, 2020)

During a year like 2020 where many situations have been upended by the COVID-19 global pandemic, Jabin persevered and fought through it. From conditioning to snapping a football, he’s doing it all to get better on the field. Jabin didn’t do it alone though, as one of his teammates, Mason Muramoto, was there beside him from the first night he was in the hospital.

“All he would talk about was getting ready to play again. You know, you could tell he was ready,” said Muramoto. “It’s just been insane seeing the amount of work he puts in. It really makes everyone work harder. You know they work harder because they realize that there is a kid out here with his situation and you realize that I got no excuse to not push myself every time.”

Jabin’s story is a tale of growth, heart break and determination but most importantly it is about inspiration.

“Just knowing that I’m able to play. Knowing that somebody can see me play with one leg and they can think that if this kid can play, I can play with whatever I have.” said Jabin Collins.

Anything is possible, just ask Jabin.

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