E:60: Va. teen athlete inspires Tim Tebow

October, 9, 2012
10/09/12
5:00
PM ET


It's nothing new when a young athlete says he's inspired by New York Jets quarterback Tim Tebow. But how often does a young athlete inspire Tebow?

Meet Jacob Rainey. Tebow did on Christmas Eve of 2011, and it was a moment that made a lasting impact on both of them.

[+] EnlargeTim Tebow
AP Photo/Derek GeeTim Tebow met with high school quarterback Jacob Rainey, who had part of his right leg amputated after being injured during a scrimmage, before last year's Broncos-Bill game.
"Being able to be with him and hang out with him and see his courage and his outlook on life really inspired me," Tebow told ESPN's "E:60."

The inspiration was mutual.

"I thought that was pretty special. It shows that he cares," Rainey said.

Rainey was a highly rated high school quarterback playing for Woodberry Forest, a private all-boys boarding school in central Virginia. Coaches compared Rainey to Tebow. He even ran a 4.6 40-yard dash at Virginia Tech during a 2011 camp visit. But Rainey's dreams of playing in the NFL were shattered during a scrimmage before his junior season when, on Sept. 3, 2011, he scrambled out of the pocket. Even though it was just a scrimmage, Rainey, like always, did whatever he could to avoid being tackled.

"I took off to the left and I cut back, and right when I cut back there was a guy right there at my knee," Rainey said. "I just blacked out and fell to the ground. I looked down and my leg was sticking out sideways."

Rainey suffered a dislocated right knee, but while he was hospitalized the news got far worse. An artery in his lower right leg had been severed, cutting off circulation. Over the next week, Rainey underwent four surgeries as doctors tried to save his leg. They were unsuccessful.

To read the rest, check it out here on ESPN.com
Ben Houser is a Senior Producer for ESPN's E:60.

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