The Kenny Story

In the late 1980s I volunteered with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes at their local university chapter.  A Christian friend of mine had been volunteering with that campus Christian organization, and he persuaded me to help out too.

When I was first introduced to the students as a volunteer, one of the football players graciously invited me to attend his Bible Study in his apartment to get to know some of the football players.
Kenny was one of those Christian football players.  He was the smallest guy on the team, but he was also the fastest player on the team, and specialized in returning punts and kickoffs.

When I first attended the Bible Study to which I had been invited, there were about six or seven players in attendance.  It was a Wednesday evening.  When Kenny arrived he limped into the apartment.  I asked him what had happened, and he told me that he had caught a pass during the previous Saturday's game, he went out of bounds and hit the team bench with his front upper leg 'quad' muscle.  He was in obvious discomfort, limping heavily and maybe even using crutches.  He told me that the team medical trainers had told him that he would probably miss several months of the Fall football season.

The Bible study progressed, and ended in a group prayer for various issues, including Kenny's healing.  Afterward as everyone was chatting and getting ready to leave the Bible Study, I asked Kenny if he had felt anything when we prayed for his healing.  He said that he had not felt anything, and had not expected to feel anything.  Being the new guy in the organization, I had no idea what the church background of any of the players was, so I told Kenny that standing in a circle, holding hands and praying was fine, but that the Scriptures mention the 'laying on of hands' and 'anointing with oil' in conjunction with healing prayer.  Kenny replied, "You know, I have read about that, but I have never seen either of those practices done."  So I suggested that we lay hands on Kenny for healing, and see what might happen.  He agreed, and I vividly remember this huge defensive tackle laying hands in Kenny, saying "In the Name of Jesus'!  I figured that Kenny would either be healed or crushed!  I told Kenny to tell us when to stop praying.

About a minute later Kenny said, "Please stop praying. I can't take any more.  I don't know about the rest of you, but I am burning up with heat!"  I replied that I guessed that was the power of the Holy Spirit, and asked Kenny to give us a report on his condition at the large group meeting the following Monday evening.

At the large group meeting I did not see Kenny arrive, so I did not know if he walked in on crutches, danced in, or if they carried him in because I was chatting with others.  The sponsoring coach led the meeting, and at the end of the meeting he asked Kenny to lead the final prayer.  Kenny responded by saying, "Coach, I have to give a report first."  So he continued to tell the athletes from various teams about his injury, about the Bible Study the previous Wednesday evening, about our prayer for his healing, and the result.  He said, "Last Wednesday night after the Bible Study, I asked the Lord if He was trying to tell me to give up football.  I said, 'If that is Your will, then I will give up football.  But I I had my 'druthers', I'd rather that You would glorify Yourself through my football somehow.'  The next morning I was still sore, but went to classes, and then went to the stadium and had the team trainers check me out.  They checked my range of motion and strength, and then said, 'Kenny, get out of here.  You are not injured at all!'"  Kenny then continued, "I caught three passes last Saturday, and didn't miss a single game!"


Six months later, Kenny was in the Spring football game in which offensive and defensive players from his team play each other.  During the game Kenny said that he went out for a pass, one of his teammates fell on him, and that when he opened his eyes he was laying on the ground in the middle of the huddle, and that all of his teammates were standing around him crying.  He had no idea what was going on.  He said that he tried to bounce up from the ground, but saw his foot 'over there' in a strange position 90° sideways, and realized that he had been severely injured in his knee.  But then he said that he realized that he was not experiencing any pain, and thought 'I'll bet that God is in this somehow.'  When I heard that he had been injured I visited him in the hospital that evening, and found him with a huge bandage and cast on his knee.

I didn't see Kenny until the following Fall Semester at the college.  He was back on his feet, but I figured that his football career was over.  At the end of the school year just before graduation the college Christian athletes went on a 'field trip' to a local high school to encourage the high school athletes with their testimonies of what God was doing in their lives.  Before that meeting we played a little '50 on 50' softball where everyone plays and no one gets left out.  Kenny hit the last pitch - a pop fly right to me.  I caught it on the inside of my pinkie finger, and it broke - 90° sideways!!  The trainer gave me a bag if ice for my injury, and Kenny came over to encourage me.  He said, "Rob, let me encourage you.  This past year had not been an easy senior year for me, with the injury, surgery and rehab.  But I am back on the team, and can actually run faster and jump higher than I could before the injury, and only God can do that!"

The next day the same doctor who had done Kenny's knee surgery set my finger.  I told him that Kenny had hit the fly ball which broke my finger, and the doctor winced when I mentioned Kenny's name.  He said that he had never seen a worse knee injury than Kenny's where the leg was still attached!

Months later my pinkie finger was healed, and as I picked up my guitar and started to play I realized that I could do bar chords better than before because there was about a 1° rotational improvement in my pinkie finger!  I figured that God had also improved me as He had done for Kenny.