Jaque Billingsley had dreams of playing professional football, and as he grew older, those dreams were beginning to look more like reality.
But unfortunately, at the age of 14 as a freshman in high school, a very serious wrestling injury lead to major complications with Jaque's leg, leading to a partial amputation, something that would change he and his family's life forever.
"We did what we had to do as a family to pull together to help him get through the whole ordeal," says his mother Cynthia Billingsley. "Because we knew that he would need us more than he had ever needed us before. To go from an able-bodied athlete to a disabled one is a major adjustment.
And his dad, Earl Billingsley, agrees, encouraging his youngest son along the way.
"Know that God can do the impossible and with your faith, just keep going and going. Don't let anybody tell you what you can't do. You see a lot of amputees doing great things out there, so you can't give up on your dreams because one situation happens.
Through tragedy, Jaque found his new purpose and the ability to compete again, but this time, not on the gridiron, but by way of powerlifting. He now is a member of the USA Paralympic team, sharing his testimony and feats of strength with the world as he prepares the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
"I'm just not a quitter, man," says Jaque. "It's just something I've never done. I don't want to be looked at as helpless, I want to be looked at as someone who pushed through all his differences, all the trials and tribulations and kept God first. I want people to see God through me."
And at just 21 years old and a world record holder in the junior Olympics, Jaque's trainer, Lee Hughes, feels like his potential is not even close to being met.
"He's totally committed," says Hughes. "When he hits the gym, he's like a little beast. I have to actually step my game up a little bit because he's on another level. I have to do my homework to make sure I bring my best game."
Billingsley and his teammates are set to travel to Mexico City to participate in the Para Powerlifting Championships that begin in early December.
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