Sterling Thomas is a former Union High School football player. He was a member of the Union football program during a portion of the time when Union won four consecutive state championships (2008-2011). He has been awarded 3 state championship rings. Sterling graduated with the Union High School Class of 2012. His academic and athletic achievement paved the way to him being recruited to be a member of the Lindenwood University Lions football team. He wore jersey #27.
On Oct 27th, 2012, the 18-year-old freshman was excited to play during a televised Lindenwood University football game. During that fateful event, Sterling sustained a cataclysmic hit which knocked him to the ground and rendered him unable to move. Quickly afterwards, a neurosurgeon diagnosed Sterling with a cervical spinal cord injury with resulting quadriplegia; and surgery ensued.
When tragedy struck, Sterling received an immediate and tremendous outpouring of support from Lindenwood University, Union High School, family, friends, church, and communities throughout the United States.
Once stabilized at a St. Louis Hospital following the physical crisis of his spinal cord injury, Sterling was air-ambulanced to Shepherd Center in Atlanta, GA. At Shepherd Center, he participated in aggressive spinal cord injury rehabilitation and gained in upper body strength and endurance. He also received extensive education which helped to empower him in living with a spinal cord injury.
Sterling has the mindset of an athlete and being physically active has always been a priority for him. He continues to pursue and participate in intense and ongoing therapeutic physical exercise and activity-based programs beyond traditional rehabilitation through the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center Rehabilitation Clinic and Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore, MD. These activity-based programs have given him the benefit of warding off secondary health conditions related to spinal cord injury.
Sterling is currently taking online classes through Lindenwood University with the goal of achieving his degree in Sports Management. He is an active member of the Oklahoma Rollin’ Trojans Basketball team which has given him an outlet to physically compete again.
Sterling’s vision for The Sterling Thomas Push Push Pray Foundation is to assist those with spinal cord injuries to move forward into a new reality and a better quality of life.