Coming Dec. 23 to CSN: 'Rocky Clark, The Legacy Lives On'

966937.png

Coming Dec. 23 to CSN: 'Rocky Clark, The Legacy Lives On'

It was one play that changed Rocky Clark's life forever. One play that not only affected lives of those close to Clark, but high school athletes to come as well. Tune into Comcast SportsNet on Dec. 23 for the premiere of "Rocky Clark: The Legacy Lives On".

Back in September of 2011, a promising 16-year old high school running back had no idea his life would change forever as he ran onto the field. When Rocky Clark began that matchup against Oak Forest High School, he didn't know he was just one tackle away from two broken vertebrae in his neck and a devastating spinal cord injury that would change his life forever.

"I never saw how this happened," Rocky's coach Greg Walder said about the injury. "I can see the play in my head. It is a normal tackle. There were ten hits in that game that were more vicious than that hit. I don't know how it happened."

But it did happen. And yet it wasn't enough to take away Rocky's faith and determination. With his mother Annette by his side, Rocky went on to graduate from Eisenhower High School. He even attended junior college at South Suburban College and helped coach his old high school football team, all while receiving constant medical attention.

In 2010, his story became a national headline after his school's 5 million insurance policy reached its cap.

"I got the letter. It was a two-sentence letter. It said Rocky's insurance was gone," Annette explained. "I let things upset me and he wouldn't. I said the nurse care is gone now. When he sees me upset, he would tell me 'it's going to be alright', but he thought he would be taken care of for the rest of his life."

Just 16 months later, Rocky passed away at the age of 27.

"(Rocky) said, 'Mama... I love you' and I said 'I love you too,'" Annette recalls of her son's final days. "I talked to the lord and I had asked him many times before to let me have him because he would have been gone and he would give him right back to me, but this time was for Rocky to go ahead on and I said to the lord 'thy will be done.'

My son had to get hurt and die to try to make a point. That makes me angry every time I think about it. My children were supposed to bury me."

Although his time on Earth was lost far too soon, Rocky's story and the determination he showed even in the hardest of times left a stronger impact in just his 27 years than many do in a lifetime.

"He was a guy you could go up to and talk to," Bears wide receiver Earl Bennett recalled. "He would tell you the whole incident, about his life. He's one of those guys that just moved me when I spoke to him."

Now you can remember and celebrate Rocky's life on Comcast SportsNet with special airings on Dec. 23 at 7:00 p.m., Dec. 25 at 9:30 p.m., Dec. 31 at 9:00 p.m., and Jan. 5 and 7 at 7:00 p.m.

Tyler Ulis returns to Marian Catholic for jersey retirement

Tyler Ulis returns to Marian Catholic for jersey retirement

As the NBA world convenes in New Orleans for All-Star festivities, one point guard in the league returned to Chicago for his own celebration. 

Friday night, Tyler Ulis was the guest of honor at Marian Catholic, the school where he put on a four-year clinic despite being one of the smallest players on the roster. The school honored his tremendous career by retiring his No. 3 jersey.

  

Well under six feet, Ulis thrived for the Spartans by accentuating his unreal ballhandling, shooting and floor management skills. He was named to the 2014 McDonald's All-American team and went on to play for Coach Calipari at Kentucky. 

Ulis, now with the Phoenix Suns, currently averages 3.1 points in nine minutes per game. Similar to his time at Kentucky, the rookie's game is improving the more he plays. Following a tough January when he shot under 30 percent, Ulis has connected on 44 percent in February. More impressively, though, he's logging an assist to turnover ratio of 6:1 for the month. 

As for Friday, the homecoming king's best gift may have been the Spartans' 38-point win over rival Marian Central Catholic. Check out the highlights and the ceremony in the video above. 

 

Wintrust Athlete of the Week: Shepard's Caleb Washington

Wintrust Athlete of the Week: Shepard's Caleb Washington

Shepard's Caleb Washington has a long list of accomplishments. 

The distance runner is a two-time state qualifier in cross country, he holds the fastest three mile in school history and was the first Shepard athlete to win an IHSA Regional Title. 

His successes run deeper than that, though. Off the track, Shepard achieved a 4.88 GPA and is committed to attend West Point. 

See his full story in the Wintrust Athlete of the Week video above.