Former U of L football player uses tragedy to pursue his hoops dreams and help others | New
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — A former University of Louisville football player is now chasing his hoop dreams.
A tragedy ended Herbert Henry’s football career at the University of Louisville and nearly cost him his life, but it also gave him a new mission.
“I wanted to be a basketball player before I was a footballer,” he said.
Henry’s hoop dreams began at Doss High School.
“I was about 5’11, maybe 5’10 and a half power winger,” Henry said. “So, you know, I knew I wouldn’t go overboard. We had 6’5 guys like Derek Anderson and Chris Travis.”
Henry eventually turned to football. This earned him a scholarship to Louisville where he played fullback for legendary coach Howard Schnellenberger.
“One thing led to another and the next thing you know,” Henry said. “In the blink of an eye, you know, I’m in this situation.”
During his sophomore year, there was a confrontation with a man who brought a gun during a fight.
“I just threw a punch and immediately when I threw that punch I was on the ground,” Henry said. “Two shots. One in the back, one in the chest.”
The confrontation ended Henry’s football career and left him in a wheelchair, but it also brought attention back to his first love.
“We’re still athletes, even though we live and grow and wheelchairs look different…all different abilities,” Henry said.
These days, Henry is playing again. He also helps others and gives back.
“I want to be that mentor for a lot of people if I can help in any way,” Henry said.
Henry is a member of the Louisville Spokes and Spiers wheelchair basketball team and coaches the Junior Mustangs Youth wheelchair basketball team in an upcoming charity game.
“The Junior Mustangs and some of our former Spokes and Spires adult team players will be teaming up to play against some of the legends of the University…ah, basketball and football,” Henry said.
Money raised will benefit the Junior Mustangs, the Sickle Cell Association of Kentuckiana and Simmons College Basketball. That’s why Henry is hoping for a full house at tipoff. The match will be played at Male High School.
“We have to feed our players and our parents, we have to brunch and meet and greet,” Henry said. “So many different things to pay for the facility, pay for the security, pay the referee.”
In the meantime, if you’re expecting an eruption, you’re not alone.
“I don’t want them beating my boys too badly,” Henry said. “It won’t even be close. We might spot 20.”
Just to be clear, Henry considers legends, underdogs.
“I think it will be our wheelchair athletes who will get these U of L boys out of the gym,” Henry said.
The playing field will be level because everyone will be using wheelchairs, including able-bodied players. The match will take place on Saturday, October 15. Henry says they are still looking for sponsors and players.
To learn more about the event, contact Herb Henry at 502-417-0855.
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