We all know that getting injured is never fun. But when you’re an athlete, an injury can affect your career. If you’ve hurt your knee, you can’t play football for example. Emeka Nnaka got an injury that changed his life forever.
Sometimes you see players get injured and they have to be carried off of the pitch on a stretcher. More often than not, they’ll be alright, but for Emeka Nnaka, his injuries were going to be permanent.
Usually the players would give a thumbs up as they are escorted off the pitch, however, Emeka knew something was wrong when he couldn’t lift his arm to give a thumbs up. Emeka Nnaka was 21-years-old when the event took place in 2009. He played defense for Oklahoma Thunder, a semi-professional football team.
During a football game, Emeka went in for a tackle, the same type of tackle he had done many times before. But something was different. As he went down, he heard a crack.
Emeka then watched the other player get up, but he couldn’t get up right away. Then a few seconds turned into a few minutes and Emeka knew something wasn’t right.
Emeka had broken his neck during the tackle and he was rushed to a hospital where he had to endure a 9-hour surgery followed by months of rehabilitation.
Sadly, Emeka Nnaka had been paralyzed from the chest down
Emeka knew that there was no point in sitting around and feeling sorry for himself. He wanted to get back out into the world and hopefully use his unfortunate situation to bring some light into other people’s lives.
Over the past 9 years, Emekas has been involved in community outreach programs and raising money for the Tulsa United Way, a program that contributes to an initiative to “redesign and eliminate Tulsa schools”. Nnaka also serves on the Board of Trustees for Tulsa Transit. Emeka Nnaka also gives motivational speeches in the hopes of educating and inspiring people.
So you can hardly be surprised to find out that Ellen DeGeneres learned about Emeka’s story and she wanted him on her show. In fact, she received over 50 letters from different people asking her to get Emeka Nnaka on her show.
Unfortunately, Emeka has experienced even more bad luck recently…
His father who is his primary caregiver broke his foot and his van, which is handicap accessible, was totaled in a crash. Then, to make matters worse, Emeka lost most of his possessions in an apartment fire.
Because of all this, his community set up a GoFundMe page to help him out. They set a goal of $100,000 and, so far, the page is on over $27,000.
Ellen had learned of this information before bringing Emeka onto her show. But she wanted to surprise him by making him a part of her “One Million Acts Of Good” segment in partnership with Cheerio’s.
After Emeka shared his story with Ellen and the audience, DeGeneres blew Nnaka away with a very generous gift…
Don’t forget to watch Emeka Nnaka’s incredible story in the video below. Also, at Happiest we love hearing all of your opinions. So please let us know what you thought of the article in the comment section. 🐝