Editor’s Note – On many Fridays we like to bring Mountaineer fans articles of Mountaineers who do good things in their communities for others. We feel that after you’ve seen bad and negative news throughout the week, we like to send you into the weekend with a feel good story. With WVUPros being new to BGS, we thought we’d bring back a few Feel Good Friday articles from the archives.
Here is one of those (originally published in May) that is timely for this week as Scooter Berry prepares to help the Jacksonville Sharks compete for the Arena League Championship on Saturday night (8:00 ET, ESPN). Enjoy.
Scooter Berry knows that it’s nothing short of the grace of God that has him back on the playing field this year.
Earlier in the week, the video below was circulated on the Internet making us proud over at WVU Pros. We always love to see triumphs, and Berry’s story is one of persistence and determination – two traits that Mountaineers know well.
Berry, a New York native and Mountaineer defensive end from 2006-2010, has had quite the football journey. However, it seems that each time there is a bump in the road, he comes back fighting harder than ever.
In 2005, Berry suffered a left knee injury and was out of football for over a year, only to come back to football as a Freshman All-American at WVU in 2007.
Fast forward to 2009, when Berry tore his shoulder in his red-shirt junior season in early September against ECU. Many may have counted him out at that point, but he underwent off-season surgery and returned for his senior season finishing with 35 tackles and 4.0 sacks and receiving Second-Team All-Big East honors.
Berry did a brief stint with the Houston Texans right out of college before signing with the Jacksonville Sharks and setting an AFL rookie record of 13 sacks.
In 2012 he signed with the Montreal Alouettes of the CFL, and again was shaken up by his most severe injury – a multi-ligament knee injury. This was career ending.
…or so they said.
“God had something different in mind,” said Berry in an exclusive interview with WVUPros.
Berry attended church at a young age, but stopped going around 12 or 13 years old.
“I believe there was a string of events – most importantly from 2012 up until now – that lead me closer to God,” he said.
Although he didn’t pinpoint specific events, he explained that it was a mix of injuries suffered, career decisions, lost friendships and new friendships.
“I’m not sure if you would call them spiritual mentors, but when I think about this new spiritual journey there are several people that stand out in my life, including Michael Ola, Julie Whiteman, Arley Nahas, and Tony Goodman,” he explained.
“These people are really good examples to me of what it is to live a Christ-filled life. Being around these people and seeing how they responded to certain situations intrigued me. The love, patience, humility and kindness they embodied was amazing, and I was compelled to start out on a spiritual journey of my own.”
While those four people helped him on his walk with God, each in their own personal way, Berry did not want to leave out what was taught to him his WVU defensive line coach, Bill Kirlav.
“Coach Kirlav helped shaped my mental toughness, both on and off the field. There were many times I thought about quitting but I had to listen to God and put that mental toughness to use to bring me back,” Berry said.
While many others were telling him it was time to “hang up the cleats”, and even when he started down other career paths, Berry knew that God was telling him he belonged on the football field.
It was not an easy journey, by any means, but Berry came back from what “they” called his career-ending injury and is now giving God all the glory for directing his path.
Berry is now back in the AFL with the Jacksonville Sharks. He knows that, at least for right now, he is where is he supposed to be and trusting God to take it from here.