Marcus Lattimore: Blowing out my knee taught me what kind of person I am

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South Carolina running back Marcus Lattimore suffered one of the most gruesome knee injuries the game of football has ever seen in 2012, and although the 49ers selected him in the fourth round of the 2013 NFL draft anyway, he never played football again.

Now Lattimore says that he can easily see the silver lining. He told that he has become interested in the philosophy of stoicism, which teaches to endure hardship without complaint, and that led to him finding a positive in his experience, starting a foundation that helps athletes who have suffered significant injuries and are struggling to pay for treatment.

“Without my knee exploding on television I would’ve never fully grasped the positive impact I had on people which influenced to start a non-profit,” Lattimore said. “I would have never known who was really there for me. If you want to know your true friends go through adversity. I would have never started reading and I wouldn’t have the self-awareness I have today which I consider my most prized possession.”

Lattimore is now working at South Carolina as the football team’s director of player development, and he says he’s imparting the wisdom he’s learned both in books about stoicism and on the football field.

“Marcus Aurelius’ quote ‘Just that you do the right thing, everything else will take care of itself,'” Lattimore said. “This quote speaks to the manifestation of my life. I’ve made mistakes countless times but I always valued respect and kindness. Those are two things that we all can agree are great virtues to have. I am in a great position in my life now because my high school football coach instilled in me that those two things are non-negotiable in life. He was a great example.”

Lattimore is a great example of a man who was dealt a significant setback in life, and didn’t let it define him.