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ELAC's Green Overcomes Tragedy

  • By Freddy Aleman
JoelGreen2MONTEREY PARK - 11/12/2010 - East Los Angeles College linebacker Joel Green isn't your typical student-athlete, as the young father of a one-year-old has had to overcome negative surroundings and an unforeseen shooting accident to prosper on the college gridiron field this season.

It was late into ELAC football training camp in 2009 when Green, while leaving home on a usual day was shot twice in a drive by shooting.

"It was a crazy day," said the 19-year-old Green. "I was getting ready to leave, saying bye to my friend. Next thing you know somebody hit the corner, started shooting and I got shot twice in my leg."

They were the bullets from a 9mm pistol. Green was struck twice, once on his leg and once on his foot. A respectable defensive player while at Jefferson High in Los Angles, Green couldn't wonder but to think that his college football career could be over even before it started.

"Once I (realized) that I got shot on my legs I thought it was over, football is done with," Green said. "The doctor said that (continuing) to play football all depended on how I rehabilitated."

Being shot and looking at an uncertain future was difficult to go through for Green, but four months after the shooting incident he went hard into rehab and gave it 100 percent effort. He miraculously recovered and decided to make changes in his life.

Although never a bad son growing up, Green did find himself hanging out with the wrong crowd. After being shot and seeing the birth of his first child, 1-year-old Elijah, Green decided it was time to be more responsible.

"When I first saw (Elijah) I realized it was time to step up and be a man," said Green. "It was time for me to make better decisions. I was going down the wrong road, hanging out with the wrong crowd. But with a kid in my life, I realized it was time for me to change my ways."

While a senior at Jefferson, Green was recruited to play junior college football for the Huskies of ELAC. Green's talents were spotted by ELAC recruiting coordinator Steve Ruedaflores.

"Coach Ruedaflores wanted me to come here from high school during my senior year," said Green. "Once I came up to (ELAC) and found out that one of my old high school coaches John Cousins was here I really wanted to be (at ELAC)."

Although he redshirted last year, recovering from his gunshot injuries, this season Green has been a surprise asset to the Husky defense.

"We love the kid to death," said ELAC assistant head coach Steven Mojarro. "This (year) he's going to play the whole season. We feel very lucky to have him. He's been one of our better defensive players. He's a hard worker and he's going to make it in life."

While Green aspires to put more weight onto his lean 215-pound frame, he hopes to one day attend the University of Miami. A big fan of "The-U" while growing up, he enjoyed their style of play and attitude on the field.

When not attending classes at ELAC or playing football, Green is a relaxed individual who has learned from his earlier life mistakes. Green likes attending church with his family every Sunday. When not eating Wing Stop, his favorite restaurant, Green takes pleasure being at home playing video games and being around the comfort of his family.

And as of a few games ago, Green had 17 tackles, three sacks, three and a half tackles for loss and two interceptions.

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