Growing up in Nebraska and watching his uncles play for the Huskers, Derek developed his passion and love for football at a young age. However, on September 6th, 2008, a youth football game changed Derek’s life forever. Derek took a seemingly harmless hit to his helmet, stumbled to the sidelines and collapsed as he grabbed his head. He was life-fllighted to a local hospital where doctors discovered Derek had suffered a serious traumatic brain injury and his survival was doubtful. From weeks of life-saving surgeries to years of continued rehabilitation, Derek’s positive attitude, faith and perseverance continue to inspire those around him as he battles this challenging injury. Through his hard work, Derek was able to walk across the stage to receive his high school diploma and now attends college at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln.
That moment not only changed Derek’s life forever but the rest of his family’s as well. Seeing the outpouring of love and support showed to them, his family wanted to give back to the community that had be so supportive of them. Husker Hope was established in 2010 with the aim to raise awareness and funds for Nebraska children and their families whose lives have been impacted by traumatic brain injuries. With the support of the community, Derek’s family hopes to provide families support during difficult times.