When you begin to type “Marcus Lattimore” into Google, the first suggestion is “injury”. On October 27th, 2012, on live television, running back at University of South Carolina Marcus Lattimore suffered a horrific on field knee injury that he would never fully recover from. Lattimore was one of those once in a lifetime talents, but in one play, the football career Lattimore had built his entire identity around all but disappeared
Seneca often said that the growth of anything great is a long process, but its undoing can be rapid, even instant. For Lattimore, it was instant. Such a devastating injury could have sent him down a spiral of rage, anger, sadness, and grief. It could have been the last we heard of Marcus Lattimore. But it wasn’t. Instead, he went back to school to earn the degree he promised his mom he'd get. He started a foundation to help athletes who have trouble paying for treatment and rehabilitation for major injuries. And most recently, he returned to his alma mater as the director of player development, mentoring student-athletes for life after football. Lattimore hasn’t spiraled. He’s thrived. And his impact now quieter but far more powerful than it would have been in the NFL.
In our interview with Marcus for DailyStoic.com, Marcus said he wouldn’t change what he went through:
The more I detached from the situation and gained a higher perspective, the more I realized how much I had grown up and started looking at the positives. Without my knee exploding on television I would've never fully grasped the positive impact I had on people which influenced starting a non-profit. I would have never known who was really there for me. If you want to know your true friends go through adversity. I would have never started reading and I wouldn't have the self-awareness I have today which I consider my most prized possession.
In every situation, that which seems to be the end of our path can actually be showing us the start of it. Think back today in your own life, we all have those tough setbacks that turned out to be a great breakthrough. The worst things can become some of the best things. Like Lattimore, it may just take some detachment and perspective to see this, it may be painful and it may come slowly, but it can be worth it.