Sylacauga football player overcomes adversity after mom passes away of COVID-19

Sylacauga HS football player playing for late mom

SYLACAUGA, Ala. (WBRC) - COVID-19 has had a huge impact on us all, but for Sylacauga High School football player Jeremy Odem, it’s been life changing.

It’s been an emotional four weeks for Jeremy Odem, but one thing he’s thankful for this season is his teammates, who haven’t left his side.

“It means everything, they treat me like family, I love them, they’re all my brothers,” said Sylacauga cornerback Jeremy Odem.

On August 24, Odem and his family said goodbye to their mom, Moneike Odem, who passed away at the age of 37 from complications of COVID-19.

“It’s been tough. Before she passed, she told us if she doesn’t make it out, to pursue our dreams,” Odem said.

And that’s exactly what Odem has taken to heart. The junior cornerback for the Sylacauga Aggies has had an interception in almost every game as he works closer to his goal of earning a college scholarship.

“It’s a joy to see a young man at that age who’s lost a mom, but definitely moving forward as tough as it may be, and that not only inspires me, but everyone around him,” said Sylacauga head coach Andrew Zow.

Odem has dedicated this football season to his mom Moneike. Although she won’t be there in the stands to cheer him on, every game he brings a picture of her with him on the sidelines.

“One thing she always told me was not to get hit too hard because you always come home crying so and every time I catch an interception, I just run out of bounds and start laughing because she always told me that,” Odem said.

Odem misses his mom dearly, but has advice for those who have also lost loved ones due to the deadly virus.

“Push through and always know they’re looking over you no matter what," said Odem.

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