The National Football League has lost one of its most unique former players as a result of the terrible pandemic currently affecting everyone single one of us around the world. According to a report from the Times Picayune former NFL kicker Tom Dempsey has passed away as a result of complications stemming from COVID-19, the deadly virus that has become commonly known as the coronavirus., he was 73 years old. Former NFLer Orlando McDaniel also passed away last month as a result of the virus.
As I stated Dempsey was one of the National Football League's most unique characters and that may come as a surprise to you given that he was a kicker, not a position that is often celebrated in football. Dempsey earned himself the nickname "Stumpy" because he was born without fingers on his right hand or toes on his right foot, something that you would think would be a debilitating condition for a professional athlete. In spite of those overwhelming odds however Dempsey managed to work his way to the NFL and become a kicker, eventually setting a league record with a 63 yard field goal, a game winner no less. That beat the record at the time by a full 7 yards and it was not until Matt Prater of the Denver Broncos managed to kick a 64 yard field goal at Mile High Stadium, where the air is much thinner, that his record was dethroned. That of course means that Dempsey's record stood for a whopping 4 decades, an amazing feat for a man that was born with such serious physical disadvantages.
Unfortunately the story of Dempsey's passing is an extremely sad one and it reminds us of the importance of being extra vigilant at this time. As we know the elderly among us are the most vulnerable to this virus and there was an outbreak at the Lambeth House retirement home in Uptown New Orleans where Dempsey was one of many residents. After initially having recovered from his symptoms Dempsey would go on to die from complications related to the virus, becoming one of at least 15 residents that have now died as a result of the outbreak in that facility.
I take solace in the fact that Dempsey lived an inspiring life, and I hope he is currently at peace.
Photo Credit: New Orleans Saints