MORGANTOWN, W.Va.– Beyond the stats, scores and football field, every athlete has a story. Some of those athletes have to overcome hardships that many couldn’t imagine.
West Virginia University’s Shaq Petteway is one of those athletes.
Petteway grew up 78 miles from Morgantown in Steubenville, Ohio, a city plagued with drugs and violence.
“I’d say I live right there in the middle of it, the redshirt senior linebacker said.”
It is easy for today’s youth to get mixed up in the scary reality, but Petteway was able to stay away from that. He credits his family for helping him stay on the straight and narrow.
“Just family, just having someone that raised me the right way, making the best of my environment,” he said. “I can also make decisions to stay away from that lifestyle. So I just credit it to my upbringing.”
Petteway is the oldest of three children. His mother Keisha raised them on her own.
Without a father figure in their lives, Petteway stepped up and became a father figure to his little brother and sister.
For Petteway it wasn’t about anyone making him do it, it was what he was compelled to do.
“It wasn’t really what made me,” he said. “It was a bad situation that I had to. Me being the oldest with two younger siblings it was me that they were looking up to. In that environment, my little brother, he watched everything that I did. So it was just me watching, knowing I had siblings looking up to me so I had to be a role model in a positive way.”
Petteway made it out of a bad situation because he chose to. He chose to step up and be a father to his siblings and he chose to stay away from the negative things filling a city.
As Petteway’s senior season winds down, he is preparing for the next step of his life.
“I just want to be successful, really,” Petteway said. “Whatever life brings me, just be successful.”
No matter where life takes him, Petteway has already been a success where it counts.