Playing for a Division I football program under a hall of fame coach is an opportunity many high school athletes dream of.
For Mike McCoy, that dream came true and then was cut short.
McCoy was one of the top prospects in the state when he decided to play at K-State.
After redshirting his freshman year, he showed glimpses of promise as a sophomore, only to be stopped in his tracks.
At 6’2″ and 233 pounds, Mike McCoy was one of the top rated running back recruit in the state.
After redshirting his freshman year at K-State, he finally got a chance to show what he could do.
However, after suffering a series of spine-related injuries, doctors told him continuing to play would be too risky.
From there McCoy made the decision to preserve his health and stop playing.
“A lot of people have been wondering how I’ve been,” said McCoy. “You know, I’m always going to be the same guy, same laughing, smiling personality. You know, I haven’t been in a depressed mood or anything.”
McCoy was born with Spinal Stenosis, a condition where the spaces within the spine become narrow, pinching the nerves.
“The symptoms of a spinal chord injury would be numbness or tingling, weakness, the inability to move,” said Stormont Vail Neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Boudreaux. “If that pinch is significant enough, then that injury may not be reversible.”
While he may not be able to play another down, McCoy’s not giving up on the game he loves.
“I just always wanted to do something with football, so I figured why not give coaching a shot?”
He said he’s been working with the new coaching staff to learn the ropes and still plans to be involved with the team in some capacity.
He also said his experience has given his teammates some extra motivation, and he hopes it provides that for other athletes as well.
“Give it your all every play because you never know when it’s your last,” said McCoy. “If you really want something, go for it.”
McCoy said he plans on staying at K-State to finish his degree in human development and family studies.