Jeffrey Sweeney is an athlete. Basketball, baseball, football, you name it, he plays it. Last January he ran into an obstacle that would send NFL greats to the sideline, but Jeffrey won't quit, his competitive spirit drives him to play on.
"Well it brought a lot of changes to our family. Me and his dad are actually divorced and we're actually back, you know we all have come together as a family to take care of him. We come pretty close to losing Jeffrey so it was a hard time," said Tonya Swinney, Jeffrey’s mother.
Last January, 15 year-old Jeffrey Sweeney had a stroke caused by a rare condition called Fibro Muscular Dysplasia. FMD causes a narrowing of the arteries and that day Sweeney's life drastically changed.
He was completely paralyzed on his left side. The stroke took everyone off guard.
"All I know is my life went from being very healthy and athletic and fit to sitting around on the couch, playing on the computer, watching TV,” said Jeffrey Swinney.
Then Tonya Sweeney found a glimpse of hope after hearing about a group of kids in
Jeffrey brought experience in organized sports to the Sharks team, something most of his teammates don't have.
"It just makes, cause I'm in high school and it makes you feel like you're part of a team atmosphere like a football player would have," said Sharks teammate, Ben Masters.
The sharks compete in basketball, football and handball and recently won the JV state championship in handball. Seeing their faces shine with joy makes the hours of coaching worth while for Brenda Arnett.
"One kid said this is the first trophy I've ever won. That meant a lot because it was such much because they see everybody else get a trophy like their brothers and sisters and they've never been involved in that and they've learned to come together as a team. I mean it's just awesome," said Arnett.
Although Jeffrey may never strap on football pads or step into the batters box again, his will to compete, to win, is stronger than ever.
"I'm a competitor, I compete, I don't quit, just say that. I'm not a quitter," said Jeffrey Swinney.
Jeffrey now has control of his left leg, but cannot use his left foot or arm and must wear a brace to support his foot. The sharks will host the basketball state tournament for JV and Varsity in March.
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