Tag Archives: rocky clark

My Visit to See Rocky Clark

 

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Your Black WorldScholarship in Action 

Today, I stood in the presence of a true soldier. I went to the hospital in Chicago to visit Rasul “Rocky” Clark, the young brother who was paralyzed 10 years ago in a football accident at the age of 16. Rocky was paralyzed from the neck down, only able to move his head and nothing else. His legs and arms are thinner than anything I’ve ever seen, he can barely breathe, and he’s dying right now because his insurance company decided to kill his policy.

Rocky’s mother, Annette, has stood by her son day-in and day-out every single day since the accident. She has a bed right next to him in the hospital and repeatedly told me that “I’m not gonna leave my baby.” Every normal day seems to be abnormally tragic, with nurses cleaning bacteria out of Rocky’s one remaining lung, and the young man quietly repeating the words, “Mama, I can’t breathe.”

Continue reading

10 Comments

Filed under African Americans

Richelle Carey: Thanks for Your Support on Tonya McDowell

richelle carey, black journalists

From Dr. Boyce Watkins

I just spoke this morning with Richelle Carey from CNN HLN.   Richelle mentioned that she has a strong interest in the Tonya McDowell situation and wants to remain updated.  I appreciate Richelle, for she has always been conscientious in her desire to keep the world aware of critical issues that face black people across the country.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under African Americans

Meet Rocky Clark: His Insurance Company Has Left Him to Die

Rocky Clark

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Your Black WorldScholarship in Action 

The story of Rasul “Rocky” Clark is a cautionary tale to all the mothers who send their sons to the football field on Saturday afternoon. Ten years ago, Clark was living the dream of many African American males: he was one of the stars of his high school football team, playing the game as running back.
Rocky’s dream came to an end with one hit too many. The player was paralyzed from the neck down, rendering him unable to move, walk, stand up, or use his arms for the rest of his life. He will never run down the field, experience sex, wash himself or even breath properly again. He has one lung, and his life expectancy dropped dramatically on the day of his horrible injury. In fact, part of the reason his family is now broke is because medical experts and insurance companies didn’t expect him to last for even a decade.
Rocky just found out that his $5 million dollar insurance policy has reached the lifetime maximum, meaning that his insurer is not going to pay anymore of his expenses.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under African Americans

Paralyzed Athlete Rocky Clark: Insurance Runs Out on His Mother

Rocky Clark

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action 

Note: To help Rocky Clark and his family, please visit Rasulrockyclark.com

The story of Rasul "Rocky" Clark is a cautionary tale to all the mothers who send their sons to the football field on Saturday afternoon. Ten years ago, Clark was living the dream of many African American males: he was one of the stars of his high school football team, playing the game as running back.

Rocky’s dream came to an end with one hit too many. The player was paralyzed from the neck down, rendering him unable to move, walk, stand up, or use his arms for the rest of his life. He will never run down the field, experience sex, wash himself or even breath properly again. He has one lung, and his life expectancy dropped dramatically on the day of his horrible injury. In fact, part of the reason his family is now broke is because medical experts and insurance companies didn’t expect him to last for even a decade.
Rocky just found out that his $5 million dollar insurance policy has reached the lifetime maximum, meaning that his insurer is not going to pay anymore of his expenses.

Continue reading

10 Comments

Filed under African Americans

If Your Son Doesn’t Make the Grade, Take His Butt Off the Field

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse University – Scholarship in Action 

Today I took my afternoon nap thinking about the days when I was captain of my high school track team in the 12th grade.  I wasn’t the star of the team and I also wasn’t an academic star (my grades were terrible).  Like many other black boys across America, I’d come to identify myself as an athletic commodity rather than an intellectual one. 

I remember that one of the fastest boys on our team was also like a lot of other black males:  He was in special education and had horrible grades.  On his report card, he’d gotten two Fs, three Ds and a C.  My coach was concerned about his grades, but not because he cared about the young man.  He was only worried about his grades because he thought that the kid might not be eligible for the big track meet we had coming up.

The coach wasn’t sure if a person with two Fs would be eligible to compete, so he had to do his research.  He then found out that, for some reason, a player had to have three Fs to be declared ineligible.  Rather than taking the young man to the side and telling him that such horrible grades would ruin his future, the coach (who was black) only had one thing to say:  “Welcome to the team brother!”

Even at the age of 17, I knew there was something wrong with that picture.  When I saw the boy years later after he’d become a man, he was working in a fast food restaurant, in and out of jail, and his years as a track and field star were far behind him.  Seeing him after the age of 30 made me think back to that day when our coach could have intervened in a small way to let this boy know that he was headed down the path toward self-destruction.  Instead, he just wanted to get him back onto the field.

Most of us know that this scenario is played out on many sports teams and in many households across America.  The truth, however, is that we can stop the madness if we put our minds to it.  As I think about Rocky Clark, the young man who is paralyzed from the neck down after taking a bad hit during a high school football game, I wonder if the quest for the bright lights of high school sports is distracting black men from our true purpose.  

To the parents out there who care about their children’s futures, I only say this:  If your child doesn’t make the grade, then sit his butt on the sidelines.  There should be no ifs, ands or butts about it.  What he does athletically won’t matter when he’s an adult and looking for a way to support himself.  The only thing that will matter in the long-run is what he did academically and the values he was taught by those who raised him.  Parents, coaches and mentors are the last line of defense when it comes to saving our childerens’ futures.  We absolutely cannot let our kids down.

 

Dr. Boyce Watkins is a professor at Syracuse University.  To have Dr. Watkins’ article delivered to your email, please click here.

Leave a comment

Filed under African Americans

Why You May Not Want Your Sons to Play Football: The Rocky Clark Story

Rocky Clark

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse University – Scholarship in Action 

When I read about the case of Rocky Clark, the former high school football player who is now paralyzed from the neck down, part of me cries on the inside.  His accident makes me think about my own uncle (who was like an older brother and very close to me), who was paralyzed after a car accident two years ago.  I also think about the countless young men who hit the football field every year, rolling the dice in hopes that they don’t end up like Rocky.

 

Click to read.

3 Comments

Filed under African Americans