Houston Cougars defensive back D.J. Hayden has one of the most intriguing stories heading in to the 2013 NFL Draft. It was during a November 6, 2012 practice that Hayden collided with a teammate while they went up for a ball that his life nearly ended.
Hayden suffered a torn vena cava, an injury that is often associated with victims of high-speed car accidents and explosions in war, but not seen before from a football injury. It was a freak injury that carries a 95 percent fatality rate.
“Why do I have to go through so much pain, why do I have to? Just why me? Why? That was the lowest point,” Hayden said, via NFL.com’s Andrea Kremer. “I was scared every time my heart would beat fast. I got nervous because I thought like the vein was gonna tear again.”
Since then, Hayden has gone on to blow away scouts and members of the medical field with his speedy recovery.
Hayden was able to run a 4.3-second 40-yard dash at the University of Houston Pro Day, just four months after his injury. Normally, the recovery time for the injury is one-year. It takes almost six weeks for a person to be released from the hospital after surgery if they survive, but Hayden was released in six days.
His story is truly remarkable.
“He is a walking medical miracle, I think,” Lowe said. “It is one of those things that you take a step back and look at the whole process, and it makes you so proud that the trainers you trust do what they’re supposed to do. The fellows you trust do what they’re supposed to do. Paramedics you trust do what they’re supposed to do. This was a day where everybody did the right thing. Every single person did the right thing. And with that, it’s a feel-good story. It has a fairy tale ending.”
Hayden is now discussed as a potential first-round pick in next week’s draft, and he seems like a shoe-in to be drafted in the top forty picks. His fight back to the top has been truly inspiring and it is a story that everyone should check out.
The NFL Network will feature Hayden’s story on NFL Total Access tonight at 7 p.m. ET. It is a must watch segment that will leave you in awe.
When you look back at what Hayden was able to overcome, you can’t help but root for Hayden to succeed. He, along with the rest of the nation, will learn where the next chapter of his career will take place during next week’s NFL Draft.