Paralyzed Teen Inspired Community, Kept ‘Em Laughing

19-year-old football player dies after struggling with injury-related health problems

A high school football player who inspired friends and loved ones after being injured and paralyzed in the fall of 2006, has died.

The story of Travis Hearn, 19, caught the attention of President-elect Barack Obama and former Chicago Bears coach Mike Ditka, and joined a community in a fundraising effort to help cover his medical expenses.

"He was definitely a comedian," said Heran's cousin, Kenearl Hearn, who Travis lived with for several years. "He kept you laughing. He just had that good sense of humor when he came around...he always smiled."

Coach Vic Boblett, who coached Travis in football, told Quad Cities TV station WQAD, "I've never seen a young man fight harder than Travis has fought. I've never seen anyone bring the Quad City community together as much as Travis."






Copyright AP - Associated Press
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