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William Jacobs: the living, walking, talking miracle

LAS CRUCES, New Mexico (KVIA) -- William Jacobs is a senior in high school at Centennial, something that wasn't always guaranteed.

At three weeks old William stopped breathing.

"I blew into him a total of four times but the first three times he didn't blow back and then on the fourth he blew back and my heart sunk when he finally blew back because I thought we'd lost him," William's Dad, Willie Jacobs said.

Months later the Jacobs' learned that a blood clot had actually hemorrhaged in his brain.

"Every part that the blood had hit in the brain had died and the blood clot was right in his speech and language part of his brain so more of the blood went to his left which caused the stroke on the right side," William's Mom, Andrea said.

"Then they said he wouldn't walk or talk," Willie said. "We never treated him like we accepted it, it was more just for her it's time for us to get working but it was hard hearing those words, no parents ever want to hear that." 

William started six different kinds of therapies and his family started learning and teaching him sign language and through it all they never gave up.

Then at three years old he stood up and took a couple of steps.

"We looked at each other and said he walks," Willie Jacobs said. "And does he talk? He never shuts up."

"It's crazy knowing what people said about me not being able to do and me knowing I can do those things now," William said. "Whenever I hear you can't do that or you're not strong enough to do that I'm like ok I'm going to try my best and prove you wrong because I know I can do all things."

William now drives, has a 4.0 GPA and for the past four seasons he's been the manager of the Centennial Hawks boys basketball team.

William first fell in love with the game at a young age and learned how to play it left-handed.

"I use my head as my right hand and my left as the shooter hand and put it up and hope that it goes in," William said.

The now senior played in the backyard growing up and also in middle school. But playing at the high school was never an option because he couldn't pass a physical.

"I shouldn't even be on this basketball court or be able to take the ball rack out or be able to shoot around after practice so I'm very thankful that I'm able to help Centennial basketball," William said.  

"We're all dealt different cards in life," head coach of Centennial boys basketball Jonathan Martinez said. "Some of us are dealt aces, some of us are dealt twos and we don't have any choice but to play those cards and Will has played those cards well all his life and there are things he physically is not able to do on the basketball court but that doesn't stop him from trying every day."

Even though William is not shooting buckets on the court, he's making huge plays off of it for the Hawks. Which is why Martinez thought he deserved his moment under the bright lights.

"I love that kid, he's an important part of our program and he brings a lot of energy and he'll never get to play real basketball," Martinez said. "I thought how awesome would it be to get him a banner for his senior year and get him a chance to maybe get on the floor at least one time in his high school career. As special as he is to me I was hoping to make his senior year a little more special." 

"It's just a dream come true," William said.

On Thursday, Feb. 16, 2023 - William lived out his dream. Playing the first offensive and defensive play of the game. While he missed his first layup his teammates quickly got the ball back in his hand and for the first and only time, William scored in a high school basketball game.

Article Topic Follows: Sports

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Rachel Phillips

Rachel Phillips is the weekend sports anchor and reporter


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