Thomas Davis is an NFL outside linebacker for the Carolina Panthers
“God, why is this happening to me?” asked Thomas Davis.
In 2009, Thomas Davis was volunteering at the Heart of a Champion Day – a clinic providing free health screenings for kids to ensure that they can safely participate in sports. In order to encourage the kids to participate, Thomas had one done for himself.
“The doctor says, ‘Oh! You have a condition,’” he recounts.
Learning that he had an abnormal coronary artery, Thomas was told that there were two ways of finding this out: Through the screening that he had done, or by an autopsy.
“My stomach dropped,” says Kelly Davis, Thomas’ wife. “I wasn’t even thinking about football; I was thinking about my husband having a heart condition.”
The Davises were faced with a very difficult decision that could have meant the end of football for Thomas.
“No one has come back to pro football from open heart surgery,” says Thomas.
After praying about it and seeking advice from many doctors, the Davises were told that if the heart condition was in fact potentially lethal, Thomas would have already passed.
“You don’t just go from one day the doctors setting up a surgery for you and then two days later they say you don’t have to have surgery,” he says. “I know that was God.”
That same year, Thomas was having the best season of his NFL career. Halfway through the season, during a game against New Orleans, he tore his right ACL.
“It was one of the worst experiences ever,” he remembers. “I went from playing the game extremely well, being at the highest level, to being humbled… just like that in one single play.”
That was only the first of three ACL tears that Thomas experienced in three years. No player had ever come back to the game of football after three ACL tears.
“I needed to be strong,” Kelly remembers, “and the only way that I could do that is to talk to God. If he needed to cry on my shoulder, I let him cry. He just needed to let it out and once he let it out, there was no stopping him.”
Thomas successfully fought the battle. He was determined to stay in the game so that he could keep the platform that God had given him.
“God strategically set all of that up for me to win the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award, for me to be a light,” says Thomas. “Whether this has motivated one person or a thousand, it’s all been worth it and I wouldn’t change a single thing that has happened in my life. God knew that by this happening to me, I could motivate other people to continue to want to fight through the injuries or whatever else they face in life. It’s already been written; you just have to be willing to stick it out. You have to be obedient and listen to God.”
“Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” -1 Corinthians 15:58
Watch Thomas and Kelly share their story of how they trusted in God’s provision in the midst of life’s challenges.