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Ty Williams was a Georgetown football player when he was paralyzed during a game after making a low tackle on a receiver. Williams fractured his vertebra and was left with only partial feeling in his legs. He was not able to move them and doctors never told him whether or not he would ever walk again, reports The Washington Post.
Fast forward to 2018.
On Saturday, Williams surprised and brought tears to the eyes of the crowd when he walked across the stage during his graduation.
Last year, Williams was the keynote speaker at his high school alma mater, Quince Orchard in Maryland’s Montgomery County. While seated in his wheelchair, Williams said during his speech, "Having a positive mindset can really change the way you see the world. We ourselves have to be our number one motivator. In hard times, when our back is against the wall and we feel like there is no way out, we have to be the first ones to tell ourselves that it’ll be okay and that we must and will overcome. . ." He continued, "Through surrounding ourselves with positivity, we can breathe new life around us. We can take advantage of everything life has to offer by doing so. Do not allow yourself to be defined by yourself or by others. We are so much more than just one part of ourselves. . . . Constantly adhering your actions to please others will drain you and leave you lost in your own body."
While Williams never specifically addressed his injury, he added, "I hate the word 'normal.' It is a word of judgment and helps create the schisms, hate, and prejudice we see today that separates our country and this world. There is a deep hatred rooted within this country that stems solely from the inability to accept those that are different. Putting a label on a human being is one of the greatest crimes committed day in and day out."
Williams stayed on the football team's roster until he graduated.