Taylor McKnight was born with Cranial Synostosis, which can result in one’s temporal plates fusing together. It can create difficulties with one’s mouth, eyes, and brain development. At three months, Taylor had to undergo an eleven-hour procedure to correct the issue, which required doctors to use a total of six pints of blood in order to replace the blood lost during the surgery. He suffered a cardiac arrest in the process, due to the amount of morphine in his tiny body, and it left him unable to walk until he was nearly two years old. He was also left without any peripheral vision – a troublesome after-effect given his lifelong desire to play football.
“Taylor is the kind of young man that made me want to become a coach and a teacher in the first place. On a daily basis, he reminds me why this profession is so rewarding. Taylor humbles me, and makes me proud to know him,” said Coach Michael Edwards.
In addition to playing football, Taylor is involved in an abundance of extracurricular activities. He volunteers with the Special Olympics and tutors teammates after school. He also mentors young football players through his volunteer work with a local youth football organization. Taylor is a 4.08 student who takes Advanced Placement classes, qualifying for the principal’s list each semester in high school. He is also a member of the All Student Body student government organization. Taylor is always there to help his community and team, and inspire his peers with his tireless work ethic, selflessness, and strong leadership. Says friend Stacy Richards of Taylor, “It takes a lot of courage to continue working at something when you are clearly the underdog. It took several years of perseverance, and a growth spurt, to make Taylor the player he is today. I believe Taylor views football as he does life, and that the challenges he faces are all obstacles he can and will overcome.”