The D Zone

Friday, August 4, 2017

From Wheelchair to Glory - Why WLW LB Jonathon Moffett will be #1 in 2018

When the pre-season ranked #4 team in the state, Walled Lake Western faces #3 West Bloomfield on August 24th, 2017 - the Warriors will be led defensively by Walled Lake Western 2018 LB Jonathon Moffett who will be donning the #1 jersey.  The story behind the #1 uniform for Moffett who is committed to D1-FCS program, Indiana State is a special one that revolves around, "firsts," during Moffett's high school career.

2 years prior to entering high school, Moffett had a botched surgery which was intended to repair his patella at 12 years old.  As a result of the botched surgery Moffett experienced stress fractures for the next 2 years.  At 14 years old and at his first practice at Southfield Christian, Moffett's leg gave out due to the stress fracture which he thought were shin splints at the time.  "I was only 14," said Jonathon Moffett.  "I thought I was having shin splints and didn't tell anyone because I had to wait 2 years to play again and I didn’t want any more delays. All I wanted to do was get back on the field. If I had told my mom, she would have made me stop playing and I didn't want her to do that."

Jonathon Moffett's mother, Sonya Moffett explained his initial injury was caused from a growth spurt between his 6th and 7th grades when Jon grew 5 inches.  Sonya provided her recollection of his initial injury, "At that time, Jonathon played with the Southfield-Lathrup Falcons as a running back. No one actually hit him, he was just running and went down.  It was his first time playing little league football in Michigan."

The series of unfortunate events left Sonya and her son, Jon wondering for the first time if football would be the driving force to aiding the costs for a higher education.

Moffett will major in biology seeking to parlay his experiences into a medical career as a physician or physical therapist (DPT) where he can help others overcome set-backs like the ones he has faced.

With the recruiting process picking up full steam during his injury, Moffett was stuck in a wheelchair but spent hours upon hours rehabbing to simply play again.  Sonya Moffett fielded the question a lot, why are you encouraging him to play, he could get hurt again, he should focus on something else, etc. you name it.  Sonya opened up on why she encouraged what Jon wanted, "The truth is I didn't want him to play again. But my son wanted it. I couldn't understand where his passion, drive, determination and courage came from. But after all is said and done - what kind of parent kills their child's dreams? Furthermore, what lesson is Jonathon supposed to be learning from these misfortunes? Is it to quit when things get bad? Ultimately, I had to listen to my child because this is his life and his journey, and if he is brave enough to go through all of this and still want to play, how could I stand in his way?"

Moffett also added, "I had not seen my son smile in 3 years, but he relentlessly worked to build his body back up and play again."

This past off-season at the Legacy Center's combine in December, we met Sonja and Jon for the first time who were passing out color printed resumes of Jon following the event.  Jon had over 100 tackles as a junior leading the WLW Warriors defense at LB to the Division 2 state finals  Moffett's first game in 2016 was a homecoming of sorts, as Walled Lake Western played Farmington at the University of Michigan which is Sonya's alma-mater.  It wouldn't be the last time we saw the Moffett's over the off-season as Sonja explained she put Jon in programs to increase his feet strength.  Jon ran track, played 7on7 at the Legacy Center, and had positional training at Rising Stars.

Sonya couldn't be more happier with Jon and the ones who helped him get to this point, "of course, he took the initiative to build his own body at the gym. Jonathon just wanted it and he worked hard for it. He had to work harder than most because he had to play catch up with his cohorts. It was the first time I trusted him to make a decision to resume football and walk in what he felt was his passion despite his setbacks. His determination has earned him a full-ride scholarship and I am so proud of him."

Following his first year of high school Jonathon Moffett received his first offer from Indiana State in May.  Moffette would later be offered by Saginaw Valley State in June, but a week later closed the door and verbally committed to Indiana State.

Anyone can learn from Moffett's misfortunes both in terms of Sonya's motherly love and what Moffett who went through the experience first hand.  "Listen to your body, get checked out if something isn’t right, and sit out if you need to," said Jonathon Moffett.  "It is better to sit out a few games than a few years.  You should also eat right, drink a lot of water, stretch before and after workouts and as uncomfortable as this sounds – take ice baths to recover. If you get hurt – stay focused on your academics no matter how down you get. Take it from me, it is not over for you if you really want it! Pray for the strength to defy the odds and then work.  There can’t be faith without the work!”

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