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Physical, mental challenges now occupy Steve Foleys life

Discussion in 'American Football' started by Johnny Lightning, Feb 3, 2007.

  1. Johnny Lightning

    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

    Feb 7, 2006
    <!--ClickabilityRefresh=10m--><!--- SAFE:SafeMode --->By Tony Manolatos
    February 3, 2007 <!--- BODYTEXT --->No matter what he does, San Diego Chargers linebacker Steve Foley said he can't take his mind off the night he was shot.

    Every day, from the moment I wake up till the minute I go to sleep, it's there, kind of like a sledgehammer,” he said yesterday. “I just have to find some way to deal with it – because no matter how hard I try to forget about it, it's just not happening.”

    In his first public comments since the Sept. 3 shooting, Foley discussed the physical and mental challenges he's facing. He also talked about his love for football and his desire to play again.
    “It's my passion, so I don't even know if me saying I miss the game is the proper word for it,” said Foley, 31, who is hearing from doctors that his career is probably over.
    At the advice of his attorneys, he declined to address the incident, or the lawsuit he filed last week against the city of Coronado and police Officer Aaron Mansker, who shot him. Mansker, 24, has said he noticed Foley speeding and driving erratically on state Route 163. The Coronado officer was out of uniform and on his way home from work in his own car, but he suspected that whoever was behind the wheel of Foley's custom Oldsmobile Cutlass was drunk.

    Foley was the driver, and his blood-alcohol level was measured twice after the shooting. The first test came back at 0.23 percent, nearly three times the legal limit of 0.08. The second measurement was 0.16. He has pleaded not guilty to two counts of driving under the influence. A May 7 trial date was set during a hearing yesterday.

    The pre-dawn confrontation with Mansker ended with Foley lying on a cul-de-sac in front of his Poway home, bleeding heavily. Mansker had shot him in the hip, leg and hand, and was waiting for uniformed backup. The shooting remains under investigation. Mansker returned to work last month.
    In a phone interview from Miami, Foley said he remembers thinking he was going to die.
    “I was laying on the ground – dying on the street from blood loss,” he said. “I felt myself getting weak. The doctors and nurses told me I was lucky the ambulance got there when it did.”
    Until a month ago, Foley needed a cane, crutch or wheelchair to get around. He now walks with a noticeable limp from the nerve damage, his biggest physical hurdle. He can't go up or down steps on his own, and if he sits in the same position for too long, he has trouble getting up because of stiffness.
    The NFL connected Foley with a therapist, whom he sees weekly. The sessions help, but he said having football suddenly taken from him is like losing a loved one. He was placed on injured reserve and missed the season.
    A nine-year NFL veteran, Foley started playing football when he was 7. He grew up in Little Rock, Ark., the youngest of eight children, and attended the University of Louisiana at Monroe.
    His family, including two young children, lives in Hope, Ark. His mother, Betty Foley, flew to San Diego the day of the shooting. She stayed with her son for two months.
    “Oh, man. That's my love,” he said. “There's nothing I can do to repay her for what she's done for me.”
    Foley's days revolve around four-hour rehabilitation sessions that begin at 8:30 a.m.
    He knows his chances of playing professional football again are slim.
    “It's gonna be tough throughout this whole rehab process, and something I'm gonna have to prepare myself for – if I'm not able to play again, which is really a good likelihood,” he said.
    Foley said he doesn't go out much. He spends most of his time at home with his two blue pit bulls, Achilles and Sky.
    “I keep to myself a lot,” he said.
    The night of the shooting, Foley was partying at a club in the Gaslamp Quarter. He's in Miami with friends for the Super Bowl, but said he's not going to the game.
    “I'm down here to hang out a little bit, kind of let my hair blow in the wind,” he said. “I never really had a desire to go to the Super Bowl unless I'm playing in it. I want to save that whole experience and excitement until that day.”
    For now, though, he's focused on getting through each day. “The whole physical part of it – that part I'm not really worried about. But the whole mental part of it is really a challenge,” he said. “The whole ordeal and how everything played out really weighs on me. It just refuses to leave my daily thoughts.”


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