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The Echo
Taylor University, Upland, IN
Tuesday, April 16, 2024
The Echo
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Trey Wood: A journey from cleats to camera

Wood represents resilience and strength

In the realm of sports, tales of triumph and adversity are etched into the very fabric of the games we cherish. 

One such narrative unfolds within the story of Trey Wood, a name resonating with resilience and passion on the football field of Taylor University. Wood's journey is a testament to the unpredictable twists that life throws our way and the unwavering spirit required to navigate them.

"Trey embodies the spirit of a true athlete, someone who faced adversity head-on and found a new way to contribute to the sport he loves," head coach Aaron Mingo said.

Wood's ascent in the world of football was nothing short of remarkable. From his early days as a promising high school athlete to earning a coveted spot on the Taylor University football team, Wood was living the dream. However, destiny had other plans for him.

“I was pulling and a defender had broken through the line,” Wood said. “I put my head down and hit him with the very top of my head. I had almost instant numbness throughout my entire body.”

Wood later went to the doctor where he was officially diagnosed with spinal stenosis. Spinal stenosis is a condition where the spaces within the spine narrow and put pressure on the spinal cord and nerves.

“Think of the spine as a tunnel and spinal stenosis is like that tunnel becoming more cramped,” Wood said. “This narrowing can happen in the spaces where the spinal cord runs through the spine, leading to symptoms like pain, numbness, or weakness in the back and legs. Mine caused numbness and tingling in my extremities.”

Wood’s initial injury followed him to Taylor University where he had a similar collision with a teammate in practice. Again, the tingling and numbness returned to his body. After consulting with a doctor, Wood was told that it was time to hang up his cleats.

"The doctor basically said that I was one more big hit away from permanent damage,” Wood said. “I’d be lying if I said the decision to stop playing football was hard. It was actually a pretty easy decision. I didn’t want to risk permanent damage for a game that didn’t make me who I am. I realized that I was so much more outside of football.”

The journey through surgery and rehabilitation was a test of both physical and mental fortitude. Wood navigated the challenges with unwavering determination, but the time came when hanging up his cleats became an inevitable reality. The cheers of the crowd and the camaraderie of the team transformed into memories as Wood bid farewell to the playing field.

However, Wood's narrative didn't end with the closing of this chapter. Transitioning from a player to a role with the team’s film crew, he found a new purpose within the football community. The camera became his new field, and Wood embraced the challenge with the same gusto that characterized his days as an athlete.

The shift from athlete to filmmaker was not without its hurdles, but Wood's adaptability and love for the game fueled his determination. Behind the scenes, he discovered a new way to contribute to the sport he cherished. His eye for detail, honed on the field, now captured the essence of the game from a different perspective.

"Trey's transition to a film role showcases not only his love for football but his ability to adapt and find a meaningful role within the team even beyond the field," notes head coach Aaron Mingo.

Finding a fresh role within the football community provided Wood with a renewed sense of purpose. The transition, though daunting, became a journey of self-discovery. His resilience became a source of inspiration for teammates, coaches and anyone familiar with his story.

"Football taught me resilience, but my journey taught me the power of embracing change. Adversity wasn't the end; it was a chance to redefine my role and contribute in a new way,” Wood said.

Reflecting on his journey, Wood said he learned invaluable lessons. The adversity he faced wasn't a stumbling block; it was a pivotal point for personal growth. The highs of victories and the lows of challenges became stepping stones towards a richer understanding of life beyond the gridiron.

Hanging up his cleats, once an inevitable reality, transformed into an opportunity for reinvention. Transitioning from a player to a film role within the football community, Wood said he found solace behind the camera, showcasing not only his love for the game but also his adaptability.

"Trey's story is a testament to the fact that the game of football is not just about winning on the field; it's about winning in life," former coach Ron Korfmacher said.

Wood's story showcases the power of embracing change and turning adversity into opportunity. The lessons he learned through his football journey, coupled with the challenges of overcoming spinal stenosis, shaped him into a person with a profound perspective on life.

As Wood navigated the unpredictable terrain of his football journey, from the electrifying highs on the field to the daunting lows of a medical diagnosis, he emerged not as a victim of circumstance but as a beacon of resilience.

Beyond his football career, Wood's story continues to unfold. After graduation, he plans to marry his fiancée and embark on a new chapter in Ohio, aspiring to make a difference as a Special Education teacher. In each twist of Wood's narrative, the resonance of triumph over adversity echoes, leaving an indelible mark on those who encounter his inspiring tale of resilience and reinvention.