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March 18, 2013

Glovers Are Brothers, Motivation

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When there should have been celebration and excitement there was instead fear and uneasiness.

On Christmas eve, 2006, Aaron Glover and his older brother, Isaiah Glover, got some harrowing news. Isaiah was diagnosed with Guillian-Barré Syndrome.

Initially, there was a mixed range of negative emotions as the Glover family wasn't sure what would happen. But Aaron has used his older brother as motivation and as he prepares for the off-season before his senior year of high school, he's on the cusp of realizing the dream Isaiah nearly had, but was snatched away.

Isaiah was a standout football and basketball player in Killen, Texas in middle school. His father, Deon Glover saw nothing but potential and hoped of an athletic future for his oldest son that would get him a scholarship in a few years. Then, almost all of a sudden, Isaiah was limping, struggling to do routine things.

"During basketball season, I would just start running down the court and falling," Isaiah said. "I'd walk in the hallway and just start falling. I was living in Texas at the time and when I moved to Virginia for winter break, my dad noticed that I was limping and skinny. He took me to the hospital and they diagnosed me as Guillian-Barre Syndrome. Then, I got better. I was in the hospital for a week and they put me on some medication. I got better, moved back to Texas and the day I was in Texas, I relapsed and got worse. It's like I woke up and couldn't walk when I got there."

For nearly four years, Isaiah couldn't walk as his nerves deteriorated in his feet and legs. That meant Aaron had to pitch in to help. He'd carry Isaiah from his bed to the bathroom and back and help change his clothes. Playing football was always fun, but it also began to take on a new meaning for Aaron.

Despite his condition, Isaiah told Aaron to keep going. And Aaron found motivation in playing for his brother and realizing the dreams that were taken away. He also began wearing Isaiah's old number, 4.

"It means a lot to me, that I can't take anything for granted," Aaron said. "I always have to go for it. My brother has always been the football player in the house. I played but I was never into it. He's the one who was really in to football. After he couldn't play, I just said I've gotta wear the number to keep the family tradition going."

Aaron, a junior linebacker at Princess Anne (Va.), continues to make a name for himself.

"As a linebacker, I feel like I can cover running backs probably better than any linebacker in Virginia," Aaron said. "I'm quick, I'm fast, I'm smart on the field and I'm very disciplined. The main thing I need to work on is reacting to the ball quicker. Sometimes I react to the ball slow. I just need to get there quicker."

It was a disappointing season for the Cavaliers, with a 1-9 record. But his play has still caught attention, with an offer from Hampton and plenty of interest from Virginia Tech, East Carolina, Virginia, Clemson, and Temple.

"I'm looking to find a great program, great coaching staff, how the environment is," It's also what I'm gonna be doing for the next three or four years while I'm attending school."

Virginia Tech is among those especially taking a hard look. The Hokies have stayed in touch and invited him to their April 6 junior day, which he'll be attending. Aaron will also be at Virginia Tech's April 20 spring game.

"They've got a great coaching staff, great football program," he said. "They've also got the good engineering program, which is something I wouldn't mind going into."

Assistant coach Bryan Stinespring has also made a few trips to see Aaron at school, including last month during the open period for coaches.

"He's come to the school a few times, like last month," Aaron said. "We were just talking about if I didn't play football, to have a backup plan, with my major. He said he'd like for me to come to his program and play. Hopefully, I get that offer."

Aaron also plans to make an unofficial visit to Temple March 23, participate in the NUC Five-Star camp April 7, go to Maryland's spring game April 12, the Rivals Camp presented by Under Armor April 13 and go to the Charlotte Nike camp.

His father, Deon, plans to accompany him at each spot. While Deon said he's impressed with what his son has done on the field, he's more impressed with how he's handled his family situation.

"Even now, he helps Isaiah put on his leg braces," Deon said. "During that time, Aaron suffered sharing time with his parents because all the attention was focused on Isaiah flying around the country, different hospitals and Aaron doesn't get the attention he needs. Aaron's not envious or jealous, he's trying to do what he can to help his brother. When they said that my son (Isaiah) wasn't gonna live, it was a hard thing then, but we're Christians, we pray a lot and God helped my son out of that situation. Aaron, all he wants to do is get on the field and be like his brother."

Three years ago, Isaiah was able to walk for the first time without assistance, as a high school junior. Guillian-Barré has caused plenty of nerve damage in Isaiah and today, there's still no sign of nerve growth. He's able to walk with the help of lead ankle splints and has been approved for a stem-cell treatment in Chicago that will hopefully help.

There's reason for hope, but also reason for pride with what Aaron has been able to do on the field, not to mention how he helped Isaiah get through the darkest of times.

"To me, it's been a big help because when we were younger, both of us played football and sports," Isaiah said. "Now that I can't, I feel like not only he wants it for me, but I want him to make it as far as he can in sports. That was our passion together. The fact that he has my number, I feel like he shows so much love and cares to do anything like that for me. I think that's great for both of us."

It's hard for Aaron not to think about his brother when he's out on the field, how he's realizing what he was never able to. But Aaron never thought twice about helping his brother.

"At first, it was a struggle when the doctors said he wasn't gonna walk again," Aaron said. "But I knew he was gonna make it through and I knew that I had to work for him, play football for him. That's why I kept playing, wore his number. I just felt like it was something that I had to do."


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