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Northside senior to play college football despite having just one leg

Northside's Ja-Que' Billingsley has always dreamed of playing college football.
WARNER ROBINS, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) - Ja-Que' Billingsley is an inspiration to everyone he meets.
    
Three years ago, he lost one of his legs after a wrestling accident, but it's not stopping him from pursuing his goals, which include playing college football.

"He came out his freshman year and just dominated on the 9th grade team," Daniel Sayles, Northside's defensive line coach says.  "I remember him well."

It was always Billingsley's dream to play college football. It seemed like that dream was over during Thanksgiving Break of his freshman year.  He'd picked up wrestling to improve his football skills. While wrestling an opponent he called "a pro," there was an accident.

"He ended up trying to do a hip toss and he fell on my knee," Billingsley says.  "I dislocated my knee and severed my artery, and I was rushed to the hospital."

The best choice doctors had was to amputate Ja-Que's leg below the knee.  As you can imagine, he was devastated.  Then, his football coaches came to see him at the hospital.

"Basically, they told me to get off my butt and go to rehab," Billingsley says with a laugh.

It didn't take long for Ja-Que' to return to his normal self: a jokester, always with a smile on his face.

"When I taught Ja-Que', I asked him to come to the white board one time to solve a problem," Dr. Tonya Woolfolk, assistant principal and former teacher at Northside says.   "He had taken his leg off, and he said, 'I can't come to the board Miss Woolkfolk. I don't have my leg on.'  I said, 'Put your leg back on, and let's go to the board.'"

Just a year and a half after his surgery, he was back doing what he loves most: playing on the defensive line for the Northside Eagles.

"He cares about athletics," Sayles says.  "He cares about Northside football, and most of all, he cares about us."

This fall, Ja-Que' will leave his teammates and coaches behind to pursue that lifelong dream of playing college football. He'll play for Pasadena City College in California.

"They ended up seeing one of my highlights and said they were interested in me coming to play there," Billingsley says.  "I talked to coach Fimbres a little more. He's fired up to have me over there, and I'm fired up to go."

Ja-Que' also competes for the Houston County Sharks, an adapted sports team that won both the football and basketball state titles this year.

Before he leaves for California, Ja-Que' will represent the USA in the Junior Paralympics this summer in England.

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