In an excellent recruiting piece by Burnt Orange Nation's Wescott Eberts is a link to a Houston Chronicle feature on former Texas Longhorns center Dallas Griffin. Unfortunately, the reason Griffin warrants a feature is because he has been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, an inflammatory disease which attacks the nervous system. The cause of MS is unknown, symptom severity and prognosis vary by case, and there is no known cure.
Griffin, in accordance with the mindset of a former athlete, is keeping a positive outlook and doing his best to combat the disease. He will be participating in the Texas-famous BP MS 150, which takes place this weekend. Just as impressive: Griffin has rallied his new teammates--coworkers at the investment bank Simmons & Co--along with some ex-Longhorns like Ryan Bailey and Luke Tiemann to ride with him.
Griffin is best known for his time on the Forty Acres as Texas' first winner of the Campbell Trophy, also referred to as the "Academic Heisman" of college football. When Griffin won the award in 2007, it was known as the Draddy. Griffin's playing career at Texas was fairly nondescript. He was a backup his first three years at Texas, and started 10 games in his senior season before suffering a season-ending knee injury.
I had the opportunity to take a class with Griffin--the finance capstone, and not EDP363, for those wondering--and though we didn't really interact, I was impressed by his ability to balance a rigorous academic curriculum and with the full-time responsibilities of athletics. When I see those NCAA commercials that state "over 400,000 student-athletes and most will go pro in something other than sports," a former collegian like Dallas Griffin comes to mind.
If being awarded the Draddy wasn't enough, here is more proof. Griffin double majored in business honors and finance, and was accepted to the Texas MBA program immediately after he graduated in spring 2007. During his undergraduate career, he made the UT AD Honor Roll 10 times (including his redshirt freshman year) and was a four-time Academic First Team All Big 12 selection.
He is also just 27 years old.
It can't be easy to tackle the prospect of living with multiple sclerosis at an age when your whole life is in front of you, but if I were to place my faith that any random Texas Ex could do it, Dallas Griffin would be at the top of that list. Best of luck to Dallas, and I wish him all the best.
At the risk of being cheesy, I was immediately reminded of this great quote from Friday Night Lights: "Give all of us gathered here tonight the strength to remember that life is so very fragile. We are all vulnerable, and we will all, at some point in our lives... fall. We will all fall."