Veteran’s Day salutes and tributes will be seen across the world of college football this weekend. For players and coaches with personal ties to the military, it’s a chance to thank those who have selflessly given their time, and in many cases their lives, to serve their country.
But you’ll be hard-pressed to find someone with a better understanding of how important protecting the country is than Rory Coleman. He’s a walk-on at the University of Central Florida.
Coleman’s role on the field is minimal, and you probably won’t see him playing anywhere on Sunday’s once he graduates. But for Coleman, none of that matters.
Injuries are a part of life, and they’re a big part of playing sports competitively. But few of us have “grenade explosion” on our resume of ailments. In a spotlight by ESPN this week, you’ll hear his incredible story and the odds he had to overcome to get where he is.
He suffered 16 different injures as the result of the shrapnel from the explosion. He almost didn’t make it, but after a long recovery process, he finished his tour and was discharged from the armed forces.
Coleman tried out for the UCF Knights football program; he was one of 40 walk-ons at the facility that day. Only two players made the cut. Coleman was one of them.
Coleman isn’t able to play every week as he continues to deal with the repercussions from his traumatic injury. But for Coleman, it isn’t about how much playing time he sees on the field. It’s about another achievement; checking a big box off the bucket list.