Life after death for Landon Powell
NORTHCHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) - He's actually a former athlete now, but the triumphsand trials of Gamecocks great Landon Powell are well documented.
He blew outhis knee three times, has a genetic disorder that will require a livertransplant, and last year he lost a 4-month-old daughter to a hereditary immunedisease.
But Powellhas pressed on.
On a stagein the student cafeteria at Charleston Southern University, he recounted thetoughest moments of his life and talked about where he draws his strength.
"Afterlosing a daughter and going through heartbreak with my family, you realize whysome things are done. For me to share that testimony and story, God wanted me togo and speak about this and be in other people's lives. I'm going to use it tobetter kids and adults, let them know even though there is heartbreak and loss thereis a better day on the other side," he said.
Powell'sstory isn't a cautionary tale or a story of a celebrity living to excess only toclimb back from his mistakes. Instead his is a story of a man who was given somuch talent on the field on to have much more taken from him off the field.
All of itwas out of his control.
"I knowthat's part of the story. I have to tell people about my faith and how it carriedme through a very tough time," Powell said.
But timesare different now for Powell. He gave professional baseball another try afterhis daughter passed away, catching on with the New York Mets. But that wasshort-lived.
"I knewI was going to retire when I wasn't having fun playing anymore. My body hurttoo much. I wasn't having success. I knew it was time to take the cleats off,"he said.
He lived thehighest of highs on the field, making history catching for Dallas Braden'sperfect game for the A's in 2010. And in the Palmetto State he will be reveredforever as a Gamecock legend.
"Iaccomplished a lot of great things in my life: being a ball player and having alot of success, making it to the majors, the College World Series, but being adad is on top of that list. Nothing gives me more joy than being a father to mytwo kids," he said.
He sees Izzyevery day in the eyes of her healthy twin Ellie. He shares baseball with hisson Holden. He wants more with what he has rather than dwells on what he'slost.
Now Powell'spicked a new path as a stay-at-home dad in the mornings and a volunteer assistantat Furman University in the afternoons.
"I'vehad a new beginning now, it's great; it's exhilarating seeing kids improve. Ilove helping them learn from failures and reap benefits from their hard work,"Powell said.
He'spositive now about his purpose and knows that it's coming full circle back tothe game he loves alongside the family he needs.
"To livethat life, live that journey. Sometimes it's hard, sometimes it's frustrating. I'veknown baseball will always be part of my life, whether playing, coaching or asa father," Powell said.
Powellbelieves his path happened for a reason and now it's giving him lessons toteach and the strength to press on.