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Former Bronco Fitzhugh picks life over 'statistics'

Ex-NFL player conveys anti-drug message to Washington County students

Ex-NFL player conveys anti-drug message to Washington County students

April 01, 2008|By HEATHER KEELS

Former Denver Bronco Steve Fitzhugh blended humor with personal stories of heartwrenching tragedy to convey a powerful anti-drug message to students at a talk at South Hagerstown High School on Monday night.

One moment, Fitzhugh was joking with the students: "Eeeeeverybody in my family smoked," he told them. "My dog smoked. Just kidding. My dog didn't smoke, my parrot did. Nah, I didn't have a parrot. I had a goat. Just kidding."

But moments later, his tone changed as he described the hole that formed in his grandmother's lip from a lifetime of dipping snuff; the cigarette warning labels his mother didn't heed until she had only 6 months to live; the promising future that ended when his brother smoked so much crack cocaine that his brain exploded.

Fitzhugh, the spokesman for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, was invited to speak to county students by South High's FCA chapter, the group's advisor, Dave Schofield, said.

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"We know prom season's around the corner, and we want to be able to help teens, adults and young adults make good choices," said Kevin Smoot, FAA's regional area director.

About 45 people attended the talk.

Fitzhugh had just returned from a funeral for his oldest and only sister, who died March 17 after years of abusing marijuana, he told the group.

He encouraged students to trust in God's plan for them and cut loose the "chickens" in their lives who hold them back with bad decisions.

He said that when he was in seventh grade, a student he admired known as "Big D" tried to drink a whole pint of alcohol before school to impress everybody, but ended up vomiting violently in social studies class.

"I had such a revelation that day when I saw him lying in his own vomit," Fitzhugh said.

"I said to myself, self ... why am I trying to be like this guy?"

After that, Fitzhugh's friends asked him why he was always saying "no" to everything.

"Why? I want a life," Fitzhugh said. "I don't want to be another statistic."

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