NFL player Derick Hall was drafted by the Seattle Seahawks in April and said his success is thanks to his mother’s advocacy for his life when he was born four months early — and, as his mother said, “dead.”
“He was actually born dead,” his mother, Stacy Gooden-Crandle, told Auburn Undercover. “The doctors wanted me to just let nature take its course. We decided we wanted to fight for him.”
On Marcy 19, 2001, Hall was born without a heartbeat before he was resuscitated. He weighed just two pounds and one ounce and spent a week on life support with bleeding in his brain. Hall spent five months in the hospital following his birth, and doctors gave his parents a grim prediction of what they thought his future looked like.
“They said he’d never be able to walk or be able to talk,” said Gooden-Crandle. “They said he’d just be a vegetable. He’d be 85 percent mentally retarded. He wouldn’t have any quality of life. They said, ‘We shouldn’t try to save this baby.'”
His grandmother, Bobbie Brown, stayed in the hospital with him at night to watch over him. She knew his story would be different than the doctors were predicting. “You’re going to be something because you got some big hands,” Brown recalls telling the tiny Hall one night in the hospital. “God got a plan for this kid right here.”
Hall is now six-feet, three inches tall, and weighs 240 pounds, defying the odds that were stacked against him. The negative views on his health and life served as fuel that inspired and motivated him. He began playing flag football at age four, though his parents, Gooden-Crandle and Cedric Crandle, who married when Hall was young, hesitated at first.
“The earliest thing I remember is being four or five years old and having an asthma attack,” Hall said. “I was in the hospital for three weeks. Going through all that at a young age, going through breathing machines and treatments and stuff like that, getting through all of that every year at a young age really put me in a position to learn how to fight, compete, and face adversity.”
Hall’s mother said her son never let the medical issues he went through hold him back. “I told him you have to push through it and fight through it,” she said. “He loved football. I got the coaches inhalers; I kept one in my purse. Everybody had one just in case he needed it. He’s just a fighter. I always encourage him to just keep being him.”
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