Bobby Roundtree


Paralyzed ex-Illinois football star is down but never out

Posted By Megan Washburn


Chicago Sun-Times


It was May 18, 2019, when Bobby Roundtree’s body — and life as he knew it — was shattered. In an instant, a 21-year-old who’d become a fearsome pass rusher as a sophomore and dreamed of playing in the NFL went from prospect to paralyzed. Football, gone. Walking, gone. Independence, gone. All of it, replaced by an alien blend of sadness, uncertainty and, indeed, new ambitions.

Roundtree intends to walk again.

“I know I will,” he says.

Roundtree’s work ethic and drive became evident to Shoshana Clark, a physical therapist at Chicago’s Shirley Ryan Ability Lab. He rehabbed there after leaving the hospital in Florida and worked with her for approximately six months on little, enormous things like going from lying down to sitting up and, eventually, moving from a power wheelchair to a manual one. Roundtree built up arm strength, core strength, balance and endurance. At first in the manual chair, he’d go 5-10 feet and be exhausted. Before leaving, he could tool around the whole joint like it was a walk in the park.

“Especially for someone of his level of injury, I feel like he exceeded my original goals for him,” Clark says. “It was wonderful to work with him. You can definitely tell he has that athlete mentality. If he has a goal, he’s going to work toward it extremely hard every day.”

Read the full story on the Chicago Sun-Times.