Transcript Staff Writer
Football gave so much to Eric Thunander.
In high school, it gave the deaf young man a way out of a tough childhood and some normalcy despite his disability. In college, it gave him identity, pride, a sense of belonging and a huge, diamond-encrusted ring from his gridiron contribution to the University of Oklahoma's 2000 National Championship team.
But when it took away his dream, it almost took away his life.
The former OU defensive end remembers what it was like to hit rock bottom.
After a head injury that ended his promising football career and a painful divorce, Thunander downed much of a fifth of Jack Daniels, put a single bullet in a revolver, put the gun barrel to his head and pulled the trigger.
There was no bullet in that first chamber. But if Thunander had pulled the trigger just one more time, it likely would have been fatal. And he realized how far he had fallen.
Thunander called his friend and the man who recruited him, co-defensive football coach Brent Venables, who had believed in and encouraged the young man who has 95 percent hearing loss in his left ear and 92 percent loss in his right. With hearing aids, he calls himself "very hard of hearing."
And about a week later, OU's head coach Bob Stoops called back.
"Hey Thundercat! How have you been?" Thunander remembers Stoops asking, using the nickname Stoops gave him from an old cartoon strip.
Stoops inquired as to what he was doing the next semester and offered Thunander a chance to return to OU on a football scholarship, a rarity in college sports for an injured player.
"I have a second chance and a second lease on life and I almost threw it away," Thunander said.
Transcript Staff Writer
- Local news
City manager calls Moore strong while addressing Chamber
MOORE — Moore’s City Manager Steve Eddy could have quoted Dickens: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” Eddy, with help from Mayor Glenn Lewis, reported on Tuesday on the State of the City to the Moore Chamber of ...
City leaders say ‘yes’ to Wal-Mart supercenter postponement
Despite complaints that a postponement request was in the eleventh hour, a zoning change in east Norman was put on hold Tuesday night. The proposal to rezone property at Cedar Lane Road between 24th Avenue Southeast and Highway 77 ...
Solar cars use Norman area during pit stop
Flat, low to the ground with reflective panels and bright colors, these moving vehicles look more like cartoon spaceships than solar race cars. But these funny looking cars represent exactly what the American Solar Challenge (ASC) ...
Motorcyclist injured in collision
A motorcyclist was injured in a collision Tuesday night in Norman....
Police responded to the following incidents Monday: · 1:37 a.m. stolen vehicle, 2100 block of West Brooks Street · 6:27 a.m. larceny report, 200 block of Driftwood Drive · 8:58 a.m. harassment or threats report, 1200 ...
The following people were charged with felony counts in the Cleveland County Court Clerk’s Office: · Linda Marquez, 36, leaving the scene of an accident involving injury, driving a motor vehicle under the influence of ...
Leaving the scene of an accident
A Norman woman was charged Tuesday with leaving the scene of an accident resulting in injury over the weekend in Moore. Linda Marquez, 36, also faces a misdemeanor charge of driving a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. ...
Norman firefighter performs Heimlich maneuver on Moore man after he chokes on food
What started out as a normal night out for a Moore couple ended with them being thankful a firefighter was in the right place at the right time....
18-year-old killed; 72-year-old man, young boy injured
Those involved in the wreck Friday near 136th Avenue and South Sooner Road were identified Monday by Oklahoma City police. Logan Rosado-Santoni, 18, was pronounced dead on the scene after the 4:30 p.m. multi-vehicle wreck. Two others were ...
New AP program to begin in Norman
NORMAN — Norman Public Schools Board of Education learned about Advanced Placement Capstone at a regular board meeting Monday....
- More Local news Headlines
- City manager calls Moore strong while addressing Chamber