Ti’Erick Martin, a standout football player for Lancaster Tigers High School in Lancaster, Texas, is a survivor.
In May, the 17-year-old was anticipating a senior season that would bring multiple college scholarship offers. Leon Paul, his high school coach, had cautioned his players to avoid dangerous circumstances. Martin, however, was among the victims of a random shooting at a late-night party in Dallas.
When his mother, La’ Tashia Gaston, heard the terrible news, she immediately called Coach Paul, who hurried to the hospital.
“I just got numb,” says Paul. “And I asked her, ‘Is he dead or alive?’ And she was just like, ‘I don’t know.'”
Martin had been shot in both legs as well as the left arm. The four wounds were not life-threatening, but they did necessitate emergency surgery.
When the adolescent awoke, he realized he was lucky to be alive but worried about his football career.
“I was very concerned about playing the sport again,” says Martin. “I really didn’t know. The doctors didn’t really talk about football, but they was telling me it’s a big injury. I could be hurt for real.”
But Coach Paul had faith and was convinced Martin would return as good as ever.
“I just prayed,” says Paul. “And a song came on, and basically the song was saying, there’s no need to worry. Everything’s going to be all right. And when we had a brief conversation, then I let him know you won’t miss a game.”
Martin returned home to recover after a week or so in the hospital. The football season started in less than three months. Coach Paul predicted that playing in the first game was a long shot. The possibility of receiving a college scholarship appeared even further away. But the brave adolescent was determined to give it his all.