There are senior football players all over the country who are signing their official college football scholarship letter today. You know that. It’s National Signing Day. You’re following #ISignedToday on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
But for Easton Sorensen, and the University of Jamestown, the offer signed today is something different.
And it’s the first of its kind: a partial scholarship to become the first student coach at the liberal arts college in Jamestown, North Dakota.
Easton discovered, and communicated with, the Jamestown football staff through NCSA Athletic Recruiting, which he had joined in July 2013. Through his junior year and into the fall of his senior year, Easton was actively communicating with coaches at multiple divisions of NCAA and NAIA play.
Then in the fall of 2014, after a hit in a game, he lost vision in his left eye. Medical examinations uncovered that Easton had a chiari malformation, due to which his cerebellum was pressing down onto the spinal column.
The local Coon Rapids news covered Easton’s heart wrenching story:
They said he will be unable to play football again.
“The doctors told him he will be unable to play football again,” Joe Leccesi, a football recruiting coach at NCSA who has worked closely with Easton since July 2013, said.
“I felt terrible. I of course gave them a refund on their premium membership under our recruit-protect guarantee for injuries. I also suggested to Don that there are opportunities to be involved in a program as a manager or student coach, and offered my help anyway I could to make that happen.”
Had the brain disorder gone unnoticed, a head trauma later in life could have affected Easton even more devastatingly, including paralysis. And for the early diagnosis, Easton is grateful.
“Everybody says football is their life. Football is everything they’re thinking about,” Easton told CTN Studios. “Not everybody can say football actually saved their life.”
But now he has a reason to celebrate.
The coaching staff at the University of Jamestown, which is part of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), had already offered Easton a partial scholarship as a player.
(Screenshot of the University of Jamestown Football Facebook post)
“When they found out about his injury and his desire to be involved in a college program, they extended the scholarship as a student coach,” Leccesi said.
“Many coaches would wish him a healthy recovery and move on; it takes a special coach to honor a scholarship like this. I can’t tell you how happy this makes me for Easton and his family.”
A large brass bell that hangs in the middle of the NCSA Athletic Recruiting offices and rings in honor of student-athletes who commit to play at the collegiate level will sound in Easton’s honor.
— Mary Pat Dvorak (@MaryPatCD) February 4, 2015