It would have been easy for Jacob Rainey to get down on himself. After all, the senior quarterback had undergone the kind of nightmare transformation that most would dare not even let enter their thoughts; a top recruit, Rainey suffered a bad break and eventually had to have his leg amputated.
Yet the Woodberry Forest (Va.) School quarterback refused to dwell on what he had lost, and in doing so has been the pillar that inspired the school and community at large to return to normal.
"I don't know why me," Rainey told the Associated Press. "I've never really asked myself that question. I think that would just make me feel sorry for myself, and that's the last thing I want to do.
"I feel like if I was in their shoes, I'd feel awkward about it and stuff, like talking about it, so I kind of joke about it. I mean, it is what it is. I can't change anything. There's no point [complaining] about it, so I think it makes everyone more comfortable about it if I just joke about it like it's alright. That's how it's always been."
The teen's story has touched many, including a couple of sports stars. In fact, Rainey is off to spend time with Tim Tebow and Clay Matthews, with the former Heisman winner openly saying that he is inspired by the teen, inverting the more traditional role model relationship.
"What an amazing kid and what an amazing outlook that he has," Tebow said of the 6-foot-3, 215-pound Rainey, whose playing style was frequently compared to Tebow. "I'm so proud to have the opportunity to spend time with him and his family. We're very excited about that."
In fact, it was Rainey who convinced everyone in the Woodberry Forest community at-large that life would go on, even if he could no longer be the star quarterback with a rocket arm and shocking 4.6 speed in the 40-yard dash. While those physical attributes may be gone, Rainey's personality remains.
At one point, in the days leading up to his amputation, even that was uncertain. After his broken leg failed to heal, the quarterback developed a rare condition called compartment syndrome, which essentially cut off blood flow to part of his leg, leading to the death of muscle tissue and nerves.
After the compartment syndrome set in, Rainey had no choice but to lose his leg. What he did have a choice in was how he would react, and the teen chose a method that would made all of his teammates -- and some celebrity onlookers -- very proud.
"The doctors told me a couple times that I wasn't going to get amputated, so I was feeling pretty good until Friday," Rainey, who has received a signed, personalized Alabama jersey from Nick Saban, among other gifts, told the AP. "I don't remember a lot, but I just remember them telling me it was going to get amputated and I was just like, `All right, well, that sucks."'
We at Prep Rally wish Rainey all the best.
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