When Drew Brees tore his ACL, he felt his very life was torn from him. He was only a junior in high school, at a time when he wanted to attract the attention of recruiters.
“I’ve seen friends get that injury, and they would never come back quite the same,” Drew told Sports Spectrum. “What I thought was going to be my life, I felt like it was being stripped away from me.”
On his 17th birthday, Brees wallowed in self-pity and mounting depression as he sat in church. He listened to the pastor for once instead of goofing off with his brother. The preacher said God was looking for a few good men to carry on His kingdom. For the first time ever, the sermon struck a chord in his heart.
Of course, Drew did make it in football. He played college ball at Purdue University and was picked by the San Diego Chargers in 2001.
In 2005, Brees was enjoying a relatively successful season when Broncos tackle Gerard Warren hit him on the ground recovering his own fumble. The late hit caused a shoulder dislocation on his throwing arm.
“I had never dislocated anything in my life, but I knew exactly what happened,” Drew recalls. “I knew that besides a broken neck, this was the absolute worst injury I could ever ask for” as a quarterback.
However, Drew had a remarkable recovery of the torn labrum and the New Orleans Saints expressed interest in hiring him. He signed in 2006.
In 2009, he led the Saints to their first Super Bowl win. He earned the moniker “Cool Brees” for his presence of mind under pressure. He has continued to play for New Orleans.
Drew married his college sweetheart Brittany Dudchenko in 2003. The couple has four children together: three sons and one daughter.
Just this year, the well-loved quarterback found himself maligned after he encouraged kids to participate in Bring your Bible to School Day in conjunction with “Focus on the Family.”
Leftist Louisiana-based Big Easy Magazine accused Focus on the Family of being anti-LGBT and supporting “conversion therapy.” Because LGBT are often bullied, they said Drew was joining “haters” and undercutting his lifelong campaign against bullying.
Drew responded that he never supported bullying and only wished kids to take their Bibles to school. “I live by two very simple Christian fundamentals,” he said. “Love the Lord with all your heart, mind and soul, and love your neighbors as you love yourself. That means to me to love all, respect all and accept all.”
At present, he appears to have weathered the storm and keeps his focus in the right place.
“I live for God, for the faith that I have in Him. Knowing the sacrifices that Jesus Christ made on the cross for me and feeling like it’s in God’s hands, all I have to do is just give my best, commit the rest to Him,” he says. “Everything else is taken care of. That takes the weight off anybody’s shoulders. It’s to give you confidence to know that you’ve got somebody looking out for you.”
Nazarii Baytler studies at the Lighthouse Christian Academy in Santa Monica.