Nazair Jones Goes From Chronic Disease To NFL Hopeful
The 2017 NFL Combine took place this month in Indianapolis. An invite to the combine allows college players to workout and participate in skills drills in front of NFL coaches and team scouts.
This day is a dream for many college football athletes, but for University of North Carolina’s defensive lineman Nazair Jones, this dream once seemed like a longshot after nearly being paralyzed from complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) in high school.
It happened after one of the most important moments of his high school football career, a state playoff game. His team lost, but Nazair came out of the game without injury. When he woke up the next morning, he had lost the ability to move his legs.
An ambulance ride to the hospital led to a series of tests without answers. And after several pain medication shots, Nazair went home but his pain continued for weeks.
For a while Nazair had to alternate between using crutches, a walker and a wheelchair to get around and started losing weight rapidly. He saw other doctors, specialist, but never received an answer.
His condition eventually lead to him not being able to walk at all. His legs and feet swelled , and were so sensitive that the slightest touch produced unspeakable pain.
Eventually, he was given a diagnosis – complex regional pain syndrome, a chronic disease that affects the nervous system.
Once the diagnosis was made, Nazair moved into the nearby Ronald McDonald House to begin his extensive rehab.
He had stayed at the Ronald McDonald House for two months, then continued his therapy back home. When he returned to school, Jones still needed help walking.
His rehab allowed Nazair to be begin walking normally again in the spring time of the year, and rejoined the travel basketball team for a tournament that summer.
But college football was still his desired goal.
He went to University of North Carolina’s summer camp to show he was still the same athlete, but his condition affected him. He got dehydrated and overheated easily and needed help from the training staff.
Despite his out of shape appearance, Nazair was very fortunate. North Carolina offered him a scholarship that day.
In 2013, during his freshman season at North Carolina, he began taking weekly shots of Enbrel, used to treat inflammatory conditions. He still takes those shots and meets with a rheumatologist to help manage the disease.
Nazair is gearing up for the 2017 NFL Combine in hopes to get drafted by an NFL team. He has fought for this opportunity since being diagnosed with CRPS in high school, and will make the most out of it.