Unbreakable . . .
I have often heard that teenagers subconsciously think of themselves as bullet-proof… and unbreakable. Stetzen is a typical young man (15 years old) living in Northeast Washington. He shares his life on a large farm with his 7 siblings. He loves to hunt and fish. Stetzen is equally at home on a bicycle, a dirt bike or a snowmobile. To say that he is an active teenager is an understatement. However, if you travel back in time to the summer of 2017, you would see that this story takes a very unexpected turn.
It was a typical summer day in Clayton. Stetzen had just returned home with his friends and was just about to unload his mountain bike from a pickup when one of his friend jokingly suggested that he ride the bike off. In typical teenage fashion, Stetzen took up the challenge. He mounted his bike and began to roll towards the tailgate, The mountain bike’s brakes were not functioning, so instead of stopping at the edge of the tailgate, his front wheel went off the edge along with a very surprised Stetzen.
The truck had been parked on an area of concrete. Stetzen’s face absorbed the brunt of the fall on the hard surface. As result of the fall, Stetzen suffered a broken neck (C2 region) and fractured the bone around his sinus area. His doctor told him that he would likely not walk again. To say that Stetzen was motivated to prove the doctor wrong is an understatement! Doctors and nurses, operations, therapy, and the ever present neck brace were a way of life. Now, fifteen months later, Stetzen is on the Deer Park Varsity team as a cornerback and a wide-receiver.
We often hear of athletes these days that have overcome difficult circumstances in their lives to go on to become successful superstars. I believe that Stetzen is in the early stages of this and deserves our attention. This amazing 15 year old is not the type to brag or point to himself for attention. He is just playing his favorite sport, and is fully enjoying a lifestyle without limits. Stetzen has the complete support of his family and coaches.
His football model is Earl Thomas of the Seattle Seahawks. Thomas is a defensive back who plays the game at 100 mph with his hair on fire! In the future, I think you will hear of Stetzen Nichols in a similar style, while maintaining his own unique personality with that ever present smile on his face.