by Linda Cuccia Jan 2012
When Delvin was in high school at McDonough 35, he was at the top of his game. He had just signed with LSU for a full athletic scholarship, and he had every reason to believe he would be drafted to the NFL from there. Everyone from teammates to recruiters and coaches had high expectations for the career of Delvin Breaux. At the time, he felt invincible. However, with just one tackle, everything changed. Delvin went from dreaming of success to wondering if he would ever play football again.
On that fateful night, Delvin discovered he had several broken vertebrae in his neck. Doctors were astonished that he was still alive. With the possibility of paralysis still looming overhead, Delvin’s focus had to shift from his football career to his health. Friends and loved ones tried to encourage him by saying, “Maybe football isn’t God’s plan for you.” It seemed that in an instant, his dreams were gone, and his future uncertain. This was the beginning of some difficult years.
Although Delvin reported to LSU for his freshmen year, he was not allowed to dress out or even sit with the team on game day. This took a toll on him emotionally. “The disappointment was so strong. Even though I could practice with these guys, and I knew I could play just as well or better than some of them, the doctors would not give the release for me to participate in games.” Delvin says he tried to have patience, but sometimes he would walk off the practice field in frustration. “Football is my life. To be told my career was over was just overwhelming for me.”
By his Sophomore year at LSU, Delvin’s grades started slipping, and he began spending his time partying and missing classes. Without any goals or future plans, he felt aimless and depressed. When his GPA dropped to 0.8, Delvin left LSU in despair. “This was probably the worst period of time in my life. I couldn’t find the motivation to do anything positive.”
Delvin says his wife Kasey Titone inspired a turning point for him. As he watched her pursue her own dreams, studying hard and earning good grades, one day he asked her, “How do you do it? How do you find the motivation to work this hard?” He says he has never forgotten her response. “Because no one is going to do this for me. I have to do it for myself.” With that mantra, Delvin began working out again. He started playing flag football wherever he could find a team. Once he got back on the field, he says he found the confidence he once had, and people began to take notice. He quickly became the one to watch, and attracted the attention of recruiters. Soon he was invited to play for the Louisiana Vipers, and he jumped at the chance.
To prepare for the season with the Vipers, Delvin began training at Velocity in New Orleans. There he found his stamina, his speed, and his faith in himself. After running the 40 in 4.35 seconds, he once again attracted the attention of coaches and recruiters. He hired agent Anthony Griffith, and soon thereafter was offered a one-year contract to play with the Louisiana Voodoo. His first game is Sunday, March 24th, and he could not be more excited. Reports say that NFL recruiters will be watching this season with much interest.
Looking back, Delvin says he could not give up on his dream, even when it looked impossible. “The dream is what kept me moving through those difficult years.” He is especially thankful for the people who continued to believe in him and his abilities. With his goals back on track, Delvin looks forward with excitement to this coming season, and the possibility of being recruited in 2013. “I’m not going to be a 2012 draft pick like I used to think back in high school, but I can still be picked up as a free agent. I am just happy and blessed to be playing professional football again. This is what I’ve dreamed of my whole life.”
At 23 years old, the gratitude and confidence that this young athlete exudes is inspiring to all of us. Follow Delvin’s career on Facebook or Twitter, or check him out on the field in March. His story is truly an example of the power of holding on to your dreams even in the most difficult and challenging circumstances.