If a house is a home for family, then it's fitting that the Baylor family is helping one of its own raise money for a house to accommodate Kyle Woods' special needs.
During a preseason football practice at Floyd Casey Stadium in 1979, Woods sustained a neck injury that left him a quadriplegic. It was a turn of events that would have left many bitter. "I've known a lot of courageous and tough people in my life," said Grant Teaff, Woods' coach at Baylor. "But I've never known anybody that surpassed Kyle Woods for his positive attitude, his determination, his faith and his will to make something of his life, which had been devastated physically."
The Baylor family did not forget Woods. Throughout the years, Teaff and former teammates have kept in touch, and last fall, several kicked off a fund-raising project to build a handicap-accessible house for their friend. Led by Teaff, L.M. Dyson, associate professor of real estate, and former teammates Radar Holt and Scott Smith, the group hopes to raise $250,000 for the house to be built in South Dallas.
"There's not a day that goes by that I don't think about what happened to Kyle and the situation that he's in," Holt said at a press conference announcing the project prior to Baylor's game against University of Texas last October. "What happened to him could happen to any one of us. He has no idea how much I love him and respect him for who he is and what all he's done for us."
In presenting the committee with a check for $60,000 on behalf of Baylor at the press conference, President Robert B. Sloan Jr. told Woods, "We want this home to be a start of good things the Lord has for you in the future."
Woods currently serves as a counselor for physically handicapped students at Mountainview College in Dallas.
"Kyle has been an inspiration to all of us who have known him," said former Baylor running back Walter Abercrombie. "He never let that bother him. He took his injury as part of the deal of playing football."
Three former teammates, Robin Jones, Neal Jeffrey and Le'Shai Matson, presented a check in the amount of $10,000 on behalf of Friends of Baylor University. Another former teammate, NFL Hall of Famer Mike Singletary, has committed $5,000, and Teaff said other former players have pledged $20,000.
"The importance of this project cannot be measured," Teaff said. "To literally change someone's living environment is immeasurable."
Contributions can be made to the Kyle Woods Trust, c/o Allen Sykes, Extraco Banks, PO Box 8724, Waco, Texas, 76710.