Pepsi-Cola Student Athlete of the Week: TR Williams

Published: Apr. 29, 2021 at 12:16 AM EDT
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - Comebacks are what sports are all about.

“I was training and stuff for the upcoming season for Page County and also for the MLB Draft,” Page County High School senior TR Williams said.

Throwing upwards of 90 miles per hour, Williams was getting set to pitch for Virginia Tech next season.

“One day I go fishing, everything’s fine. Worked out. Lifted like 400, 500 pounds,” the left-hander said. “The next morning I woke up and my left foot is real tingley.”

From there, TR’s life changed instantly.

“I woke up and half of my face is all drew up. I couldn’t smile with it. I’d eat and stuff would come out of my mouth.”

The former state player of the year’s baseball career and life was put on halt in February after being diagnosed with guillain barre syndrome.

“From then on, it was just a battle,” Williams said. “I couldn’t move. Totally paralyzed. Couldn’t even open my eyes.”

During the nearly two months TR spent hospitalized at the UVA Medical Center and the Children’s Hospital of the Kings Daughters, the community rallied around him.

“I was happy just to get four cards in a day, and I go from that to two or three hundred in a day and I’m like ‘oh my,’ I’m like overwhelmed with happiness,” he said. “That really drove me too to get back out there and show people my determination.”

On April 1, TR came back home to Page County.

“He has more dedication to living than anyone I’ve ever seen before,” Page County math teacher Brenda Nickerson said.

TR’s comeback is well underway. He’s back to throwing off a mound and hitting 80 miles per hour on the radar gun.

“He worked hard before and he’s working hard to get better now,” Page County baseball coach Wayne Comer said. “He’s a strong person.”

It’s a comeback to reach his ultimate goal of toeing the rubber of a big league mound.

“I told him I need a ticket to his opening day in Major League Baseball,” Comer said.

It’s a milestone that’s possible with TR’s new outlook on life.

“I’m just taking it all in,” Williams said. “One minute as it goes by. I’m enjoying it. It’s just something that you don’t normally think of before, but now everything’s just great. It’s like a new life.”

Williams will attend Virginia Tech next fall, joining the baseball program and studying business.

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