Atkins battles for every yard

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SEAN ATKINS, a 2008 graduate of Fredericksburg High School, is currently attending his third college in five years while attempting to keep his dream of playing collegiate, and one day professional, football alive. — Standard-Radio Post file photo

   By Matt Ward — 

 

Four universities, two countries, several surgeries, countless injuries and five years later, Sean Atkins will finally earn his opportunity to start for a college football team this fall.

The 2008 Fredericksburg High School graduate has traveled a long road since his days wearing Billie red and is slated to be starting at h-back for the University of Virginia’s College at Wise this fall.

After graduating from FHS, Atkins spent a year running track at Concordia University in Nebraska before pursuing his college football dream in Canada.

 

Moving north

In order to keep his dreams of college (and hopefully professional) football alive, Atkins transferred to St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada where he battled injuries, the depth chart and immigration in 2009 and 2010 as a member of the X-Men.

“You have to live there for a certain amount of time and you can only come back (to the U.S.) for a certain amount of time to be in the Canadian Football League draft,” he said. “Teams have to be 51 percent Canadian, so it’s a lot easier to be battling Canadians than Americans to be on the roster.”

In two seasons for the X-Men, Atkins gained 476 yards and scored a touchdown, but the distance, lingering shoulder issues and a chance to play for the inaugural football team at the University of Texas at San Antonio brought him back to the United States.

Over before it started

Ready to take the field as a member of the first UTSA football team in 2011, a shoulder injury in the final two-a-day scrimmage before their season opener knocked Atkins off the field for the season before the season even began.

“I finally took just one hit and couldn’t do it anymore,” he said. “I had surgery the day before the first game. At that time, I went in with the coaches and they moved all over the board in where I was going to be and what they wanted me to do. I didn’t know if it was worth it to even play anymore.”

Despite the setback, his family had kept in contact with the coaches at Virginia-Wise, who had recruited him out of high school.

For more on this story, read this week’s print and online editions of the Fredericksburg Standard-Radio Post. If you are a print subscriber, your full online subscription is free. All you need to do is call 830-997-2155 to get a password. If you are not a subscriber, call 997-2155 or click on the ‘Subscribe’ button on the left side of the home page and sign up today!

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