Former college quarterback visits UA to discuss Substance Misuse Stigma

Pic Damon West Ii0

By WVUA23 Sports Reporter Samantha Huver

Damon West, a former college athlete and addict, spoke on Wednesday at the Bryant Conference Center about addiction and mental health awareness.

“My primary message today is about understanding that addiction comes in all forms. I mean – you look at a guy like me,” West said. “People’s mindsets of what an addict looks like or what a criminal looks like is not Damon West.”

West is a former Division I starting quarterback, playing at the University of North Texas.

After he suffered a career ending injury during the 1996 season, West turned to drugs to deal with the disappointment.

West says his lowest moment came in 2004 after he was arrested on multiple charges of burglary and sentenced to 65 years in prison.

His father visited him and asked him why, when he was down and hurting, he did not come home to his family.

“Even in your biggest crisis, your hardest most difficult moments, there’s an opportunity in there somewhere,” West said.

While West spoke on many topics that hit close for him, there were two takeaways he wanted everyone who listens to remember.

“Humility and grace,” West said. “Humility is when we become right-sized because humility is something I think we can all use more of in our lives. But grace is something I think we need to show more people in life.

“Grace will always cost the person giving it, more than the person receiving it.”

Categories: Alabama, College Sports, High School Sports, Sports