Christion Abercrombie

Christion Abercrombie story

By Mike Organ, The Tennessean and NFF Board Member

Christion Abercrombie has been called a walking miracle.

He once was a hard-running tackling machine for Tennessee State’s football team.

In fact, he was the Tigers’ leading tackler and on Sept. 28, 2018 Christion had his team poised to upset Vanderbilt.

TSU had taken a 13-10 lead on their opponent from the SEC in the second quarter when Christion suddenly felt ill. He took himself out of the game and after complaining of a headache collapsed on the sideline.

Christion was treated by medical personnel at the game and then rushed to nearby Vanderbilt Medical Center where he underwent emergency brain surgery. The 20-year-old Atlanta native was left clinging to life. His family, especially mother Staci and father Derrick, were left clinging to prayer and their strong Christian faith. After doctors delivered a grim prognosis, Staci used social media to ask others pray for her son.

Finally, after nearly two weeks, a second brain surgery and while still listed in critical condition, Christion began showing signs of recovery. First, he lifted his hand, then he squeezed his father’s finger. Then he responded to some of his favorite music his mother would play for him.

Doctors attempted to temper the Abercrombie’s optimism as their son continued to improve saying a full recovery remained an extreme longshot. There still was a good chance, they said, that Christion may never walk, talk or function again as a normal young man.

Still, the improvement continued, and it wasn’t long before Christion was able to breath on his own without a ventilator and was released from Vanderbilt Medical Center. He returned to Atlanta where he started rehabilitation at the Shepherd Center.

Staci delivered the message on social media: “God is working a miracle right in this moment.”

By late October Christion was talking. Soon after that he was able to take few steps and then climbing stairs and walking so briskly he would break a sweat.

By mid-December Christion could leave the rehabilitation center on weekends and go home to watch NFL games with his dad.

On March 28, 2019, Abercrombie was released from the Shepherd Center and the following month was back in Nashville where he announced the Titans’ fifth-round pick at the NFL Draft on Lower Broadway.

This past fall Christion was the grand marshal of the TSU Homecoming parade.

The injury made Christion not only appreciate, but also love his life more than ever. He is enrolled in online classes at TSU again and hopes to rejoin the football team in 2020 in some capacity, perhaps as a manager or student assistant.

Perhaps equally miraculous is the fact that the injury did nothing to hinder Christion’s love for football. In fact, he wants to become a football coach when he graduates and continue to be an inspiration to those around him.

His remarkable recovery makes Christion deserving of this chapter’s 2020 Bonnie Sloan Courage Award. The award is presented to a Middle Tennessee-area athlete, coach or staff member who overcomes with the spirit of Bonnie Sloan, a former Litton High and Austin Peay football star, who became the first deaf player to play in the NFL.