(Photo by Michael Kinney)
By Michael Kinney
OKLAHOMA CITY — Nick Roof can’t forget what his life was like before Nov. 11, 2016. As a junior at Thomas-Faye Custer High, he was a beast on the gridiron. With college offers in his back pocket, the future seemed set.
Then on that fateful day, it all changed. Roof suffered a head injury in a game against Watonga that nearly took his life. Instead, he laid in intensive care for a few days and was told he would never be able to play football again after being diagnosed with an acute subdural hematoma which caused bleeding in the brain.
Instead of letting that moment destroy his ambitions and desire, Roof just moved them to another arena of competition. Track and field to be exact.
On May 4th Roof won the 1A state championship in the shot put Friday at Western Heights’ James McCurtain Track & Field. His throw of 56-11 was 8-feet more than second place Dante Cerna of Texhoma High and it broke his on 1A state meet record by 3-feet.
“I’m very proud of today. It was nice weather,” Roof said. “But throwing wise I didn’t really throw that good. I’ve been hitting 60s so much, and just not to hit it today was pretty heartbreaking, but I got a nice 56-11 out there so it wasn’t too bad.”
However, Roof wasn’t entirely happy with his overall performance. He had hoped to end his high school with a better outing, but he will take it.
“It means a lot,” Roof said. “It definitely keeps me humble and happy. I’m proud.”
Roof wasn’t done there. He came back and also won the state championship in the discus with a toss of 150-01 feet.
Roof has now won back to back championships in both the discus and shotput. He won his first set just months after suffering the head injury that derailed his football ambitions.
It took Roof a while for him to get to the point where he could put his gridiron dreams behind him and move on.
“It took a lot of time,” Roof said. ” I sat in a chair for a month and had my eyes closed, couldn’t open them, and just thought about that a lot, but … I knew that God was gonna help me and he’d get me through it, and he put my life on a new path.”
That path led him to track and field.
“When I was a little kid I always dreamed to go on D1, so when I lost football I just had to find something else to go D1 in, and track was it,” Roof said. “And I’m really grateful that it’s worked out for me pretty well.”
However, there was just one major obstacle in Roof’s way. Thomas High didn’t have a throwing coach. So he had to learn how throw both the shotput and discus the way most Millennials learn to do something nowadays. The internet.
“I just learned off YouTube,” Roof said. “I didn’t have a coach; I just focused on it, trained … and I’m here now.”
Where Roof is now is a place he could never have imagined on Nov. 11, 2016. That is alive, a 4-time state champion and a future member of the Oklahoma State Track and Field team.
“Definitely not, because I didn’t really focus on track that much, but I’m focused on it and I think I like this a lot better,” Roof said. “It’s been a lot … great for my family, it’s been an amazing experience for my high school career.”
Michael Kinney is a Freelance Content Writer with EyeAmTruth.com