The Facts: Roderick (Rod) McDowell is a red-shirt senior running back for Clemson University. He is a first year starter this season after having a strong role as a back-up in 2012. In his debut game last week against Georgia, he ran the ball 22 times for 132 yards and caught one pass for 10 yards.

Not a bad week for a running back in any conference for any game. But, we are not here to just throw out some stats on just any player. Rod is a great story of inspiration.

roderick mcdowell clemson

The Story: Rod was born with a birth defect called a club foot. According to the Mayo Clinic website, a club foot is when ” the tissues connecting the muscles to the bone (tendons) are shorter than usual. The term “clubfoot” refers to the way the foot is positioned at a sharp angle to the ankle, like the head of a golf club.”

It is treated with surgeries, casts and braces with varying results. Sometimes children can’t walk or run and sometimes they can but not with a regular stride. Rod McDowell went through numerous surgeries, casts and braces. The doctors wanted to perform one more surgery but the risks were high he might never walk. After much prayer, his mom decided not to do it. Well done, Mom!

In one of the interviews I read, Rod discussed actually running out of his casts, literally breaking them apart. Remind you of anything – maybe  Forest Gump! Rod even laughs about the parallel to the fictional movie character. Listening to other interviews Rod seems like a humble and kind young man, an inspiration to others born with the same condition and dedicated to accomplish anything.

Rod McDowell has already earned a degree from Clemson in Sociology. He has also won the hearts of many who thought he’d never walk, certainly never run and definitely never be the top running back for a major university currently ranked #4 in the country.

Never give up. Persevere through what life has dealt you and you never know what you might be able to accomplish.

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