Endzone Player Profile: Ky Collins
LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - It’s been an uphill battle for Ropes offensive and defensive lineman, Ky Collins since he was just six months old. His mother, Lisa Anderson said that’s when he began losing his fingernails and having problems with his skin.
“I told myself I was going to keep going, but I had a thought in the back of my mind, hey you know you might not be able to do it this much longer but here I am,” said Collins.
During his fourth birthday party, his family got the phone call that changed his life forever. They were told that there was a chance he wouldn’t live past the age of 12.
“It was horrible and you know it was a Friday, so I had all weekend to question what was happening,” said Anderson. “I was in Chuck E. Cheese and they told me to get a napkin and a pen and write down this condition which is Dyskeratosis Congenita. And I went home and I googled cause that’s the only thing I knew about it. And it took me all weekend, I read every single piece of literature they had on him because I was so afraid of him of not knowing what his future was going to hold.”
Through her research, she learned that only one in a million children would get Dyskeratosis Congenita. And it would not only affect his nails and skin, but also his hair and could cause bone marrow failure.
She said, “It was very very hard and it took a good year to be able to actually talk about it, because it was so hard to come to grips. I kept thinking that I was going to wake up at any moment. And he’s so strong. He’s so tough. He’s a fighter.”
Still young at the time, Collins wasn’t completely aware of what was happening to him, but he picked up on his mother’s emotions and started to realize it was to be taken seriously.
“I really didn’t know about it, but I remember seeing my mom crying, so I was really confused about it. And then later on I realized you know it’s a big deal,” said Collins.
Determined to help her son overcome the odds, she decided to sign to sign him up for flag football in an attempt to boost his immune system. Collins love for the sport grew immediately. But his fight with the condition wasn’t over. At the age of seven, he had to sit out nearly two years after having issues with his bone marrow. And a couple years later, when he was 12, the condition caused a scar to form on his cornea. To help him see better doctors fitted him with a contact, but an infection soon developed and resulted in a parasite eating his cornea, which caused him to begin to lose sight in his left eye.
“It was actually more scary because you know we thought we had already battled this disease and then the same year we find out that he’s got this parasite and we had maybe a week to get ready to kill that cornea,” said Anderson. “So it seemed like it was just a domino effect and it seemed like it was so hard to deal with, but he, he was such a warrior. He just went straight through it. He didn’t care and it kind of fuels you to want better. You know because if he’s fighting through it I can’t be the weakest link.”
To this day, Collins doesn’t like to talk much about his health. Even while going to routine checkups every six months to get a blood check and once a year to have his bone marrow checked, he prefers to let his play on the field do the talking.
He said, “When I would think of it, I just want to prove people wrong you know what I mean. Like usually you tell people they think you can’t do it or they ask if you can do it. I’m normal, like I can do anything I want.”
Collins plays mostly on the right side of line due to his loss of vision in his left eye, but even his own coaches are unaware of how much his conditions affect his body.
Anderson said, “You know he’s so tough. He’s so strong and I think he just wants to be normal that’s what’s so sad. And I think he is normal. I mean he plays as much as he can. He is very good academically. Ropes is amazing and everyone has accepted him as just normal even though if they only knew he was very very rare.”
Ropes coaches and players have made Collins feel at home and just like any other player on the team. Ropes head coach Lane Jackson calls him his best offensive and defensive lineman and said he’s one of the best leaders on the team.
“You wouldn’t never notice it,” said Ropes head coach, Lane Jackson. “Unless he said something you wouldn’t notice. Because he doesn’t prefer one side or the other he plays both sides of the line he plays tackle, he plays guard, he’s even snapped.”
But even beyond his bond with his coaches and teammates, he’s always had the biggest supporter right by his side.”
Anderson said, “We are very close. I think more than most moms and sons are. Just because we have had to travel to Washington DC to see specialist. We, he was a Kid’s kid with Kid Kraddick in the morning. So we went, they took us to Disneyland. We’ve gone so many places, just him and I. And I was always a single mom so it was just always him and I, but I think we have a stronger bond because we’ve had to face these abnormalities and these difficult times.”
Collins and his mother hope this season ends with a chance to play in college, as they plan to continue to fight the good fight at the next level.
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